- Article & photo by Ben Boehl -
Perry Hall’s Hillary Rice had been struggling for the past
few weeks and was 0-for-3 in a big softball game against Sparrows
Point. Then she came to the plate in the seventh inning and found a
pressure situation. The Gators were down 4-3 with a runner on third,
there were two outs and Rice faced a two-strike count. She was the
Gator’s last hope.
After fouling off many pitches, she got a hit to drive in her teammate
Maria Infussi and to tie the game.
“I was focused and I kept staring at the pitcher’s release point. I was
just zoned in and I knew I could do it,” Rice said after the game.
The next two batters Kelsey Zeglin & Allison Bittner both got hits
and drove in one run each and Perry Hall upset the 15-ranked (in
the Baltimore Sun) Pointers 6-5 in a game at Sparrows Point.
Gator coach Brian Radcliffe said a win over the Pointers is a quite an
“I’ve been doing this for 13 years now and that is the best Sparrows
Point team I have ever faced,” Radcliffe said.
It took time for both teams to generate some runs. Perry Hall’s Kelsey
Zeglin led off the game with a hit, stole second and later scored on a
passed ball. After that Sparrows Point star pitcher Kara Malvaso was in
control for the first few innings.
In the top of the fourth, Perry Hall had loaded the bases with no outs
after three straight Gator batters were able to bunt for hits. But
Malvaso didn’t panic as she got the next batter to line into a double
play and another runner was caught stealing home. Perry Hall had
another runner thrown out after trying to steal home in the third
Perry Hall pitcher Justine Digregorio allowed no runs and one hit in
her first three innings of work, but only had a 1-0 going into the
bottom of the fourth.
The Pointers' bats came to life as Kaitlyn Welk got a hit and
later scored after a Melissa Lutz hit. Lutz scored on a passed ball and
the Pointers took a 2-1 lead going into the fifth.
After a quick 1-2-3 top of the fifth inning by Malvaso, the Pointers
added two more runs. Gabby Antalffy led off with a triple and Ashley
Gray walked. Then Welk got another big hit that drove both runners in
to grab a 4-1 lead. Radcliffe knew the game wasn’t over.
“The kids definitely believe they are not out of it until that final
out,” he said.
The Gators didn’t quit and came back in the sixth. They cut the deficit
to 4-3 when Zeglin and Bittner got hits and scored. Zeglin scored three
runs on the day. That later led to Rice’s key hit in the seventh.
“That was her first base hit in a long time. She has been struggling a
little bit this year. It was a good time to come out of a slump,”
Sparrows Point made it interesting when the Pointer’s Stephanie Kelly
led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double and later
scored, but Digregorio and the Gators hung on for the win.