La Plata softball loses a close one

Gives up 3 in sixth, falls to North­ern in SMAC fi­nal

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

Sa­man­tha Cle­mons was well aware of the sit­u­a­tion when she stepped to the plate in the bot­tom of the sixth in­ning of the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence softball cham­pi­onship game on Tues­day af­ter­noon. She also knew what she had to do.

“Two outs, bases loaded, there was def­i­nitely some pres­sure,” Cle­mons said of the mo­ment, which was in­ten­si­fied by the fact that she and her North­ern team­mates were tied 1-1 with the visit­ing La Plata War­riors. “I just went up there and said, ‘Hit the ball.’ I needed to hit the ball in that sit­u­a­tion. I needed to get it done and luck­ily I got it done.”

Cle­mons flared an 0-ball, 1-strike pitch to shal­low left field to drive home Michaela Schae­fer and Rachel Daugh­erty to put the Pa­tri­ots in front 3-1. North­ern went on to win the con­fer­ence’s first cham­pi­onship game 4-1.

La Plata (12-6 over­all) had taken ad­van­tage of an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic North­ern er­ror in the top of the first to get on the board first when Erica Cox scored on Andie Kline’s dou­ble. But the Pa­tri­ots (19-1) an­swered in the bot­tom half when Kassidy Cross sin­gled, stole sec­ond, moved to third on a Natalie LaPlaca grounder and even­tu­ally scored on Schae­fer’s two-out sin­gle.

De­spite hav­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, that was all North­ern was able to score un­til the de­ci­sive sixth. For­tu­nately for the Pa- tri­ots, Kaylee Cross was sharp in the cir­cle, lim­it­ing the War­riors to just one hit and one walk af­ter the first in­ning.

“She car­ried us. I thought that was the best she’s pitched all year,” North­ern head coach Robert Earl Rad­ford said of his pitcher, who struck out eight in the win. “We had some hits early and two er­rors early which is un­char­ac­ter­is­tic, but they bat­tled through, per­se­vered and got it done. It was good to see.

“This game told us a lot. I was a lit­tle con­cerned prior to this game, but I feel a lot bet­ter af­ter win­ning this game.”

Still tied at 1 in the bot­tom of the sixth, Schae­fer led off with a sin­gle and then beat a fielder’s choice at­tempt to sec­ond on Mi­caela Cum­mings’ grounder to short­stop the fol­low­ing at-bat. Lau­ren Daugh­erty then sac­ri­ficed the run­ners to sec­ond and third be­fore Marissa Wim­mer was walked to load the bases.

La Plata pitcher Alyssa Bilodeau then struck out Gina Seifert to get the sec­ond out and move closer to­wards es­cap­ing the in­ning un­scathed, but Cle­mons de­liv­ered her two-run hit to break the tie. Kassidy Cross fol­lowed with an RBI sin­gle of her own to add an­other in­sur­ance run for good mea­sure.

Kassidy Cross and Schae­fer each had two hits and an RBI, while Cum­mings also had two hits to pace the Pa­tri­ots’ eight-hit at­tack. Kaylee Cross sur­ren­dered just two hits and a walk and nav­i­gated through three er­rors, in­clud­ing two in the first two in­nings, to lead the Pa­tri­ots to the win.

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

La Plata’s Andie Kline forces out North­ern’s Rachel Daugh­erty at sec­ond base dur­ing the fourth in­ning of the Tues­day af­ter­noon’s SMAC softball cham­pi­onship game at North­ern. North­ern de­feated La Plata 4-1.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.