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Sports

West Point no-hits New York

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008

MATTYDALE, N.Y. -- Rebecca Taylor, Hope Pehrson and Jill Lantzy combined to pitch the West Point 13- and 14-year old girls softball team to its second consecutive no-hitter and a 12-0, five-inning victory against New York on Tuesday in the Eastern Regional Junior Girls Softball Tournament.

West Point hasn't allowed a run in its past 15 innings.

West Point (3-0) battles its toughest competitor of the tournament, as it plays host to Syracuse at noon today.

West Point faced its only hurdle when Taylor was called for an illegal pitch against the second batter she faced. While the result is only a ball, a lengthy discussion with all four umpires and the West Point coaches ensued until the discrepancy was resolved. Taylor then returned to the mound and her usual winning form.

"Actually, umpires have called me for illegal pitches before, and it's never for the same thing," Taylor said. "When the umpires told me what I was doing wrong, I just quickly corrected it and just kept pitching."

Taylor struck out four of the eight batters she faced.

Her team responded offensively in the bottom of the second inning when Katie Hickey was hit by a pitch, Lantzy reached on an error and Kelsie Zoppetti ripped a triple down the left-field line, driving in the team's first two runs.

"I was expecting an inside pitch, and that's what she threw," said Zoppetti. "It felt really good to get the rally started."

Caitlin Tobin followed with an RBI double to start the five-run inning. Alyssa Bates, who was 4 for 4, doubled, and Carmelena Moffa singled in Bates and later scored when she stole home.

When Pehrson relieved Taylor, New York faced more of the same.

The right-hander struck out the side in the third and had another strikeout in the fourth. If not for a walk to Casey Thomas in the same inning, West Point would have had a perfect game.

In typical fashion, West Point was able to mount a big, run-producing effort in the fourth inning. In three tournament games, West Point has scored 19 runs in the fourth inning. It scored seven against New York -- all driven in by a different player.

"There is a lot of talent on this all-star team, and the difference between the ninth player and the 13th player is very little," Lantzy said. "Going into the tournament, I told that to all the girls.

"Because it's such a small difference, I am going to give everyone a lot of playing time. They deserve it, and I've stuck to that all the way through. I do my best to try and give everyone opportunities. That helps keep the team together and builds good team chemistry."

West Point closed out the contest with its third pitcher, Jill Lantzy.

"I was a little nervous," she said. "I wanted to make sure we finished with a no-hitter."

Lantzy, who pitched for the first time in the tournament, easily disposed of the three New York batters she faced, striking out two.

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