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G-A softball survives Big Spring with 5-4 victory

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When the Greencastle-Antrim softball team saw its Mid Penn Colonial rival, Big Spring, on the District 3 Class AAA bracket, the Blue Devils saw an opportunity.

After facing the No. 15 Bulldogs twice in the regular season, Greencastle, seeded second, entered Tuesday's first-round game ready for a battle. But from the looks of the first few innings, when Greencastle took a five-run lead thanks to three Big Spring errors, the rematch wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

But the Bulldogs weren't done. Big Spring chipped away at the deficit, turned a few double plays and used smart fielding to hold the Blue Devils scoreless in the remaining five innings. But the comeback wasn't enough, and Greencastle survived, 5-4.

The Blue Devils (16-5) will play East Pennsboro (15-3) in the quarterfinal round Thursday at Carlisle High School at 4:30 p.m.

"We were actually really excited to be paired up with them," Big Spring's MacKenzie Brymesser said. "We have these little battles with a lot of teams that we play, so we knew we had to battle and we are used to it by now. But it just didn't play out in our favor this time."

Greencastle coach Mark DeCarli said, "I always tell everybody, the 20-5 loss (to Big Spring earlier this year) was a good thing for us. It woke us up and unleashed the beast. (Big Spring) is is not a 15 seed. They are like a six or seven, so we couldn't let their seeding fool us."

In the bottom of the second, Greencastle put the Bulldogs (11-10) in a tight spot, with the bases loaded, no outs and a comfortable 5-0 cushion. But Big Spring picked up a fielder's choice to throw a runner out at home, and turned a double play to end the inning.

"This was a game where knew we were ready," Greencastle's Ally Brown said. "When they started coming back we wanted to score more runs, but we held them and we made the big plays when we needed to."

From there on out, the Bulldogs were a different team.

"That was a turning point, but we just got ourselves too deep in the hole there," Big Spring coach Mike Gutshall said. "We knew it would be a battle. Seeing them the third time this year, they know us and we know them."

Big Spring scored four unanswered runs in the remaining innings, but a strikeout and two fly outs in the top of the seventh locked in the win for Greencastle.

Brown claimed the win, while Brymesser took the loss for the Bulldogs. Brymesser also went 2-for-3 at the plate.