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Hempfield edges Latrobe in softball

Paul Schofield
| Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hempfield pitcher Jamie Swarm spent the past two years learning from Lauren Shaheen.

Swarm must have learned a lot from the former Hempfield ace.

The senior limited Latrobe to just three hits, and got offensive support from Kelsey Criner (two-run triple) and Ashley Pisone (home run, two hits, and two runs scored), as Hempfield stayed unbeaten in Section 1-AAAA with a 4-3 victory Tuesday at Latrobe's Rotary Park.

Swarm struck out five and walked one as Hempfield (5-0, 6-1) took over the lead in Section 1-AAAA. Latrobe (3-1, 4-1) hadn't allowed a run until yesterday.

"Hempfield outplayed us in all phases of the game except pitching," Latrobe coach Bob Kovalcin said. "I thought Alexa (Bryson) did a tremendous job.

"Hempfield came to play. With the amount of time we spent preparing for this game, I wasn't pleased with our performance."

Bryson ended up with 12 strikeouts, but walks and a couple of miscues hurt Latrobe.

Hempfield jumped on Bryson in the first inning when Criner tripled home Amanda Rupert and Pisone for a 2-0 lead. Rupert reached on a one-out error and Pisone followed with a single.

"Getting the lead was big," Hempfield coach Bob Kalp said. "I told the girls before the game that Latrobe has never been behind this season, so let's put pressure on them. The early lead convinced them we could get the job done."

Latrobe never could recover from the early deficit. Each time the Wildcats would score a run, Hempfield would answer.

After Latrobe scored an unearned run in the second, Pisone clubbed a home run over the right fielder's head in the third inning to make it 3-1.

Latrobe made it 3-2 in the third inning when Bryson, who singled, scored on Natalie Ferrari's double. Ferrari had two of the three hits off Swarm.

Pisone, who will celebrate her 18th birthday and also sign her letter-of-intent to attend Coastal Carolina today, then used her speed to give Hempfield a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning. Pisone, who walked and moved to second on Criner's second hit of the game, scored from second on Ashley Jury's infield single.

Latrobe threatened to tie the score in the bottom of the sixth inning with runners on second and third with one out. Latrobe's Meghan Kozusko then drilled a shot to the left-center gap, but Criner made a diving catch to record the second out of the inning. Kozusko was credited with a sacrifice fly.

"Kelsey made a great catch," Kalp said, "and Jamie pitched a heck of a game. She's not a power pitcher like Bryson, but she let her defense make plays."

Swarm said Shaheen taught her a lot the past couple of seasons.

"She showed me hope to prepare," said Swarm, who lost a 2-1 decision to Latrobe last year when Shaheen was injured. "This was a good win for the team. I'm really proud of the team.

"I really wanted to win this game. I had something to prove to myself."

Pisone said Swarm did a great job keeping her head in the game.

"She hit her spots and kept the ball down at the knees," Pisone said. "She did really well. She's capable of doing anything she wants."

This was the first of three section meeting between the two teams. They meet April 21 at Hempfield.

Kalp said while he's happy to get the win, he knows his team must play better because Latrobe will be improved the next time around.

"I'd rather lose now than later," Kovalcin said. "We still have two more games against them and it's early in the season."

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