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Comeback kids do it again

MA softball comes from behind to beat PCA, 7-6

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Senior Kassie Malm hustles down the first base line during MA’s 7-6 win over PCA on May 7. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 15, 2012
MOULTONBORO – It's been a déjà vu kind of season for the Moultonboro Academy softball team.

That proved to be the case once again on May 7, as the Lady Panthers followed a similar path to victory against visiting Portsmouth Christian Academy. For the fourth time in eight games, MA came from behind to pull out a win in dramatic fashion, as eighth-grader Maddy Greene came up with the game-winning base hit with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to give the hosts a thrilling 7-6 win in Division IV action.

"Being able to come back again and again says a lot about this team," said MA coach Lindsay Bliznik. "But we really need to start these games off stronger. We had a new infield out there today and that's been our focus recently. But we still struggled defensively early on and we can't keep doing that if we want to win against the top teams."

Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Panthers finally came to life at the plate. Courtney Delaney singled with one out and stole second base, and she came around to score on a Julia Schmidt RBI single to cut into the deficit. Schmidt would score when Greene singled and moved to second on an overthrow, getting MA within 6-5.

After Jordan Hough walked with two outs and stole second to put runners on second and third, Kim Delaney came through with an infield single that tied the game at 6-6. It was a bizarre play however, as the PCA infield tried to nab Hough at second base, as the freshman catcher was a bit far off the bag. Hough managed to get back before the tag came in however, and Greene scampered home while the throw went to second.

After PCA was held scoreless in the top of the seventh, the Panthers were in familiar territory, coming up in the last inning with a chance to win the game. While the Eagles quickly got two outs to start the frame, MA wouldn't be denied. Courtney Delaney singled to get the rally going, and Schmidt followed with an infield single. The throw from the shortstop got by the first baseman however, and the MA runners circled the bases. But with the ball going out of play, the umpires, after several minutes of deliberation, sent Delaney back to third and Schmidt to second with two outs. That set the stage for Greene, and the pitcher helped her own cause with a ground ball to second base. Her hustle down the line enabled her to just beat the throw, and Delaney scored to allow MA to walk off with the 7-6 win.

"This was a huge win for us in the standings but we definitely don't want to make a habit of playing games like this," said Bliznik.

The early frames weren't kind to the Panthers, as the team committed most of their nine errors in the second, third and fourth frames. PCA scored two runs in the second, three in the third and one in the fourth to take the 6-3 advantage.

But Greene put out the PCA offense the rest of the way, as she allowed just one hit over the final three innings to allow the Panthers a chance to come back. The eighth-grader finished with five strikeouts.

"She sets the momentum for our team," explained Bliznik of Greene. "And she does start to throw a little better as the game goes along. Around the fifth inning or so, she seems to throw the ball harder. But she's an eighth-grader and she's definitely holding her own out there so that's impressive to see. Sometimes we have to remember that she is only in eighth grade because she doesn't play like one most of the time. She's averaging 10 strikeouts a game against varsity competition."

Kim Delaney finished 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored to pace the MA offense, while Schmidt had two big hits in the late innings and finished with two RBI. Greene also went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Courtney Delaney had two hits and two runs scored. Kelsi West chipped in two RBI from the cleanup spot in the lineup while Erica Gilson had two hits and a run scored, as the Panthers clubbed 13 hits on the day.

Salmon Press
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