Posted March 22, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Falcons topple Hawks

By Robert Edmonds - sports@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Skyline's softball team had its opportunities Wednesday night but they couldn't capitalize. After falling behind early, the Hawks left baserunners stranded in scoring position in three different innings late in the game.

After surviving the storm, the visiting Falcons tacked on three runs during the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach en route to a 5-0 victory.

"We were able to execute when we needed to tonight," Falcons coach Mark Ott said. "We were able to execute some bunts and get runners in scoring position and put pressure on their defense. That is the kind of game that we like to play. Both pitchers pitched very well tonight, but we were patient and it paid off."

Skyline found themselves with a two-run deficit to overcome after allowing two runs during the top of the third inning. Kristine Chipman began the inning by reaching first base when third baseman Sabrie Neeb fielded the ground ball, but her throw to first base was offline.

After Hawks pitcher Sarah Beamer struck out the next batter, Suzie Batson reached base when her bunt when down the third baseline to Neeb. Neeb once again fielded the ball cleanly, but this time her throw was mishandled by the first baseman setting up runners at first and second for the Falcons.

Two batters later, Sarah Kleinfelter knocked a single through the infield to score both runners and put her team ahead, 2-0.

Hoping to dig themselves out of the hole, the Hawks began to rally in the bottom of the fourth against Kleinfelter. Valerie Hindley sent a knock into left field off Kleinfelter for a double with one out. Neeb was hit by a pitch on the next play to put two Skyline runners on base. 

The Falcons were able to put an abrupt stop to the momentum Skyline was building when a line drive by Taylor Henry was caught in the air by Falcons shortstop Justina Augustine. Augustine doubled up Neeb on the play, who had nearly reached second base when the ball was caught.

"That was just a baserunning mistake," Hawks coach Frank Nelson said. "I didn't expect that from Sabrie [Neeb] because she is a very good baserunner. It never comes down to one play though."

Skyline again left runners on base in the fifth and the sixth innings against Kleinfelter, who notched nine strikeouts on the evening.

Unable to give Beamer any run support, the Hawks still trailed entering the final inning of play. April Nalls led off the inning with a double to left-center field. Nalls then moved to third on a bunt from Annie Glascock, but was thrown out at home attempting to score on a passed ball.

It appeared that Beamer had escaped trouble, but quickly found herself in a tough spot after walking the next two batters. Beamer struck out Batson for the second out of the inning, but Augustine ripped a triple into the right-field corner. The Falcons would add another run to set the final score and ruin an 11-strikeout performance by Beamer.

"I thought this was a real good pitchers' battle," Nelson said. "We just had those two or three mistakes on defense that took us out of the game. We have a real good team, but we didn't play to our potential tonight. I'm not taking anything away from Kleinfelter because she is a very good pitcher. We have a lot of talent, and we are learning how to put those mistakes behind us. And I think we are going to be very competitive in our district."

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