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Sports

West Shamokin picks up win after 3 big losses

| Friday, April 17, 2009

West Shamokin's 5-4 victory Thursday afternoon at Ford City was needed badly.

The Wolves had lost their three previous games by a combined score of 30-2, including a 15-1 defeat at the hands of Deer Lakes on Tuesday.

So, beating the Sabers — and consequently ending their four-game winning streak — was a refreshing experience.

“It picks us up so much,” senior second baseman Samantha Eckman said. “After losing as bad as we have been, it's a nice pick-up.”

Ford City (5-2, 4-2) had entered the game in sole possession of second place in Section 3-AA. The Sabers had outscored their past four opponents, 46-2, but their bats were quiet yesterday. West Shamokin starter Anna Lasslo limited them to four hits.

“We need to get more disciplined in the batter's box,” Ford City coach Bill Richard said. “They need to start swinging the bat and stop swinging at junk.”

Said Lasslo: “I just had to pitch my game. I just have to pitch the strikes and have my defense back me up.”

Lasslo also credited her fielders with helping her to the win. West Shamokin's outfielders caught nine fly balls. Rarely out of position, they allowed just one extra-base hit but committed one error.

“I can't ask for more from them,” Lasslo said.

Ford City's lone extra-base hit came in the first inning and helped put them on the board first. Starting pitcher Lauren Karabin hit a double into center field to drive home Lynzee Panchik from second base.

That was the last hit the Sabers recorded until the fifth inning, and in the meantime, West Shamokin rebounded and built its own lead.

The Wolves' Lisa Troutman and Alyssa Stewart reached the basepath on singles to open the third inning. Karabin then walked Bree Wilson to load the bases. The next batter, Sara Nolf, was hit by a pitch, driving in Troutman and tying the game.

“We've been working at trying to battle at the plate,” West Shamokin coach Sue Meixelberger said. “Being patient and waiting for their pitch, that's what we're pushing.”

With the bases still loaded with no outs, Richard made a pitching change, moving first baseman Abby Jack to the mound.

Jack got off to a rocky start. She walked her first batter, Jayna Rhine, and West Shamokin took its first lead of the game. The Wolves earned two more runs before the inning ended, as Britney Kirsch notched an RBI single and Aleaha Moore got an RBI on a sacrifice to bump their lead to 5-1.

“My head was down pretty far at that point,” Jack said, “but I tried to get it back up.”

Jack was able to bounce back, allowing only four hits over the last four innings and no earned runs.

Even with Jack's improvement, West Shamokin still manufactured a run in the sixth inning that wound up being the deciding score in the game. Eckman reached second base on an error and was singled home two batters later by Stewart.

Ford City tried to rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Sabers' Lou Shring scored from second base on a error to flame hopes for a comeback. Jess Richard then came through with a sacrifice RBI to score Panchik and cut West Shamokin's lead to two runs. Later in the inning, an error by Moore in right field allowed Ford City to score another run, but Moore atoned for the mistake by catching a fly ball in the next at-bat to end the inning and the Sabers' rally.

Ford City will have to put the loss behind it quickly. At 6 p.m. today, the Sabers travel to section leader Burrell in a rematch of their only other loss this season.

“We've got to go in with a positive attitude,” Bill Richard said. “Burrell is a very tough team to face. That win would be a huge win for us. It would put us right back where we need to be.”

Dan Stefano can be reached at dstefano@tribweb.com.

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