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SOFTBALL: Greencastle-Antrim halts rally in 7th by James Buchanan

GREENCASTLE >> The final play of the game seemed to take a long, long time to complete.

It ended just a shade too soon for James Buchanan and in the nick of time for Greencastle-Antrim.

The Blue Devils survived 5-4 in a Mid Penn Colonial Division softball game Wednesday afternoon, which leaves G-A and the Rockets tied for first place in the division with 6-1 records.

But James Buchanan (13-2) made it very interesting in the top of the seventh inning, which began with Greencastle (11-4) holding a 5-1 lead.

"We'll take the win, but that inning we were just in panic mode," Blue Devil coach Mark DeCarli said.

G-A made errors on bunts by Cara Bender and Carly Caron to lead off the inning and Brooke Pittman laid down a perfectly-placed bunt to load the bases. Blue Devil pitcher Liz Ward racked up a strikeout, but Shania Fogelsonger then laced a single to centerfield that brought in Bender to make it 5-2.

Abbie Doyka then came up and sent a line drive down the leftfield line that was foul by about two inches.

JB assistant Troy Pittman, coaching at third base, said, "I had a good view. Her ball hit the cut-out part of the field, but it just missed the line. That would have made it interesting."

It got interesting anyway.

Doyka smacked a fly ball deep to center that Morgan Wagaman tracked down. That allowed Caron to trot home with the third run. At the same time, Brooke Pittman moved up to third and Fogelsonger started toward second.

But when the ball thrown in by Wagaman trickled past a couple of Blue Devils, it forced catcher Katie Gelsinger to come down the third-base line to field it, and that left home plate uncovered. Brooke Pittman saw that situation, took off for home and got there before Gelsinger could get there, making it 5-4.

"When the ball was coming in, I was telling Brooke to hold," Troy Pittman said. "But the ball was in front of her and she saw she could make it."

The play, incredibly, was not over yet.

Once Gelsinger saw she could not get Pittman, she turned back toward the field and saw Fogelsonger steaming toward third base. Her throw to Alison Shockey was in time and Shockey applied the tag to end the game.

Gelsinger said, "The ball came in and I saw nobody was backing up (shortstop) Erin (Bontrager), so I moved out. When I got the ball I was too far away from home. But then I looked up and saw (Fogelsonger) running and I heard a couple of girls screaming. I had to make a good throw and Alison made a good catch and tag."

"That play was crazy," Troy Pittman said. "When I turned around, Shania was almost there. I don't fault her – we try to be aggressive. If they had thrown that ball away she might have been able to tie the game."

Greencastle jumped ahead early off Nina Shatzer. In the bottom of the first, a walk to Ali Sherman brought up red-hot Ally Brown, who picked on an 0-2 pitch and deposited it well over the fence in rightfield for her third homer of the season and a 2-0 lead.

Gelsinger kept it going with a single up the middle and she scored when Brooke Zeger dumped a bloop double to right. A base hit by Bontrager brought Zeger in for a 4-0 advantage.

"The girls were ready at the start of the game," DeCarli said. "They were all business."

The Rockets used three straight bunts to load the bases with no outs in the third – an error and hits by Caron and Pittman. But the only run they got was on a fielder's choice grounder by Fogelsonger.

"We moved some players around and wanted to play some small ball, and it worked for the most part," Troy Pittman said. "The bottom of the order did a good job getting balls down and making them field it."

The Blue Devils' other run scored in the fifth when Ward singled, moved up on an error and fielder's choice and scored on a passed ball.

"We usually play solid defense on bunts, but not today," DeCarli said. "This is a big win – JB is still a very good team even without (injured star player) Taryn (Miller)."

Pittman said, "I've been coaching a long time and this is a unique group of girls. They don't get rattled. I'm proud of the girls."

Greencastle 5 James Buchanan 4

J. BuchananGreencastleabrhbabrhbPittman cf4120Wagmn cf4010Cumngs lf4000Shermn lf3120Fglsngr ss4012Brown rf3122Doyka c3011Gelsngr c3010Piper 2b3020Cloppr cr0100Shatzer p3000Ward p3010CMiller1b3000Walck cr0100Bender 3b3210Zeger 1b3111Caron rf2110Bontrgr ss3011Hoover dp3000Reitz 2b0000Shockey 3b3010Totals30483Totals285104
J. Buchanan0010003—4Greencastle400010x—5

E: JB 3, GA 5; LOB: JB 6, GA 6; 2B: Zeger, Shockey; 3B: Piper; HR: Brown (3); CS: Pittman; SAC: Caron; SF: Doyka.

James Buchanan


PB: JB 1.

T: 1:33.