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Howard holds off late Broadneck rally

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No. 9 Bruins load bases in seventh inning but Lions get out of jam (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE)


Natoli_O'ConnorTrailing by three-runs with two outs in the seventh inning, Broadneck’s softball team loaded the bases and had the go-ahead run at the plate.

But Howard relief pitcher Kensey O’Neill got the final batter to fly out quietly to right field as the No. 11 Lions held on for an 8-5 victory over the visiting No. 9 Bruins on Thursday afternoon.

“Broadneck is a very good hitting team, so we had to be good on defense,” Howard starting pitcher Sami O'Connor said. “They are very good on defense as well, so we had to find the holes. Pitching wise, the game plan was to work the corners, move up-and-down, and give them some off speed pitches.”

O’Connor picked up the win, tossing four innings with four strikeouts, while allowing just two runs. O’Neill entered in the fifth and breezed through the next two innings, but she struggled a bit in the seventh inning.

Erica Toth led off the frame with a bunt single. Kasey McDowell followed with a single and Jordan Thompson walked to load the bases. Kristina Dillard earned a walk to score a run, Gabby Henson drove in a run with a single, and Kimber Salvas knocked in a run on a groundout to bring Broadneck to within three, 8-5.

But O’Neill recorded the last out to preserve the victory, Howard’s fourth in a row.

“At first I was thinking we just need to get the outs, then we started making silly errors [in the seventh],” Lions shortstop Jules Natoli said. “But we pulled it together in the end.”

Howard coach Chuck Rice had no doubts that his team would finish the game.

“I've been with this is group of seniors for four years; most of them have been on varsity for four years,” Rice said. "It's their time. They know it. I don't have to over-coach them. We lost our focus a little bit in the last inning, but we came back."

The Lions (4-1) took their first lead of the game, 3-2, in the bottom of the third when O’Neill scored Sage McGrann on a groundout.

Howard added two runs in the fifth inning thanks to an RBI single for Alicia Grant, and an RBI groundout by Sam Travisano. In the sixth, McGrann hit an RBI single, and O’Neill plated two more with a double that hit off the right field fence, making the score 8-2.

“We came in strong, but then they got a couple runs and we took ourselves out it,” Broadneck Deanna Romeo said. “We lost our intensity. It's not that we played poorly, we hit the ball well but there was a point in the middle where our bats went solid. We can't do that against good teams.”

Both squads are preparing for this weekend’s Cavalier Classic at Randazzo Park, hosted by Archbishop Spalding. The Cavalier Classic is the premiere tournament of the season, with three 2011 states champions (Urbana, Northern, Easton), two state runners-up (Howard and Chesapeake-AA), and the IAAM A Conference champion Spalding all particpating.

“This is going to be a tough week. We play Spalding and Chesapeake on Saturday,” Rice said. “If we can go 2-1 this week, I'll be very happy. Every team is [ranked] in the top 20 of the state, but I like to play the best.”

No. 11 Howard 8, No. 9 Broadneck 5

Broadneck          110         000         3              -              5              11           2

Howard               201         023         x              -              8              11           0

Pfleuger and Henson; O’Connor, O’Neill (5) and Barnhouse, Latimer (4)

2B: Howard-McMillin, O’Neill.

RBI: Broadneck-Henson 2, McDowell, Dillard, Salvas; Howard-O’Neill 3, Grant, Travisano, S. McGrann, Natoli, McMillin.

Last Updated (Friday, 06 April 2012 00:15)




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