Warriors lose pitching duel
L-town’s Brooks drives in winning run in sixth to beat La Plata
Leonardtown freshman Laila Brooks crossed first base with elation as her single drove in the only run scored in a home game against La Plata on Monday.
In what was otherwise a fantastic pitching duel, Brooks provided timely offense in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Raiders defeated La Plata 1-0, sweeping the two-game Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision season series. Leonardtown first defeated La Plata 4-1 on March 23 in a pitching battle that was decided with an extra inning.
On Monday, with the game scoreless through 5 1/2 innings, Leonardtown found an opening when Emily Buffin reached base on a leadoff bunt. She advanced to second on a wild pitch by La Plata’s Alyssa Bilodeau and, two batters later, Brooks drove a ball into left-center field to bring Buffin home.
“The pitcher’s very good, every time. It’s something about her, she get’s in my head every time, but today I guess I settled down and made the adjustment,” Brooks said. She went 1 for 2 at the plate with a walk. Her RBI came on a 1-ball, 2-strike count. “The pitch before was definitely a strike, but was called a ball. Next time, instead of it going outside, it curved inside, and I guess I just swung a little bit early to meet it.”
“That was huge,” Leonardtown head coach Kim Schraeder said of the hit. “She’s been, all season, trying to get her hits in and it finally just fell for her today.”
Brooks’ hit was one of just three allowed by Bilodeau, who also walked three batters and struck out 15. Her counterpart, Leonardtown’s Kaitlin Beasley-Polko earned the shutout with just two hits allowed, two walks, and 16 strikeouts. Beasley-Polko, the 2015 All-SMAC Most Outstanding Player, said games against other great pitchers can bring the best out of her.
“It gets me a little more determined to throw harder, movement, or whatever it is I need to do to get the outs, or the ground balls, or the popups,” she said.
The almost identical pitching numbers between Beasley-Polko and Bilodeau almost reflected on the scoreboard as well, when La Plata began the fifth inning with a bunt single by Karley Wiley. A couple batters later, Hannah Kraft hit what appeared to be an RBI single, but the umpire ruled that Kraft illegally stepped on home plate while hitting the ball and called her out, La Plata’s final out of the inning.
“She did [step on the plate], and I’m not going to argue that call. She’s a young girl,” La Plata head coach Dave Krahling said. Devin Ruble’s fourth-inning double was La Plata’s only other hit, and the game’s only extra-base hit. “We left some runners on base, too. Kaitlin does a good job on the mound
and Kim does a very good job with the girls, and they played a very good game. It’s just, we left some runs. We’re not executing.”
With the win, Leonardtown improved to 6-1 overall with a scheduled contest at Great Mills looming at 4:30 p.m. today, the team’s first Chesapeake Division game of the season.
Despite how tough La Plata has been to beat this season, its record is now 1-4. The Warriors return home for their first Potomac Division game against North Point at 4:30 p.m. today.
La Plata pitcher Alyssa Bilodeau threw 15 strikeouts in a 1-0 loss at Leonardtown on Monday.