Happel boosts Lansdowne, 4-2

She throws five-hitter vs. Hereford, goes 4-for-4

Softball

High Schools

April 29, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Lansdowne pitcher Amy Happel helped her own cause yesterday -- over and over again.

Happel threw a five-hitter and went 4-for-4 with four RBIs to help host Lansdowne extend its winning streak to nine with a 4-2 victory over Hereford in a Baltimore County 2A-1A game.

The sophomore did a little bit of everything for Lansdowne (10-1, 7-0 league), which remained in first place. Happel had three doubles and a wind-aided RBI single to complete a perfect day at the plate.

Happel gave the Vikings an early 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the first, broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run double in the second and doubled again in the fourth before her sixth-inning pop-up fell untouched near shortstop to bring in an insurance run.

Happel has been fighting blisters on her thumb and index finger that came from a recent chemistry class mishap, which makes pitching more painful. The sophomore threw well, but the blisters clearly affected her control at times, as she struck out four, walked six and got some help from her defense.

"The past two games I haven't pitched as well as I can," said Happel, who improved to 5-1 this season. "Luckily, my defense backed me up."

The Vikings made only one error, pulled off two double plays and made a number of good plays. Hereford (7-5, 6-2) put two runners on with two outs in the seventh before shortstop Melinda Carruthers (2-for-4) grabbed Whitney Williams' hard-hit grounder and threw her out to end the game.

"She had the defense behind her today, and they played tough," Lansdowne coach Jamie Izdebski said. "Pitching and defense are [keys] for us."

Defensive problems hurt Hereford at different points. The Bulls made two errors in the second that set up Happel's two-run double. A few players watched Happel's high pop-up fall to the ground for the sixth-inning insurance run.

Hereford pitcher Amanda Watkins scattered seven hits and went the distance, but the defensive miscues proved costly.

Hereford coach Sam Bowen said defensive problems have hurt the Bulls at times this season.

"In the games we've lost, we had one or two innings where we gave the other team five or six outs," Bowen said. "Most of the games we've lost have been because we didn't play defense as [well] as we were capable of."

After Happel gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead in the first, Meredith Lonberger tied it with an RBI groundout in the second. Happel's second-inning double made it 3-1 before Becky Sebastian of Hereford sliced the lead to one with an RBI single in the fifth.

The Bulls got runners on base in six of the seven innings, but they stranded eight.

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