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SOFTBALL: Garden Spot clips Penn Manor, 2-1

NEW HOLLAND - Friday's Section One-Two Crossover between Garden Spot and Penn Manor was notable for a couple of reasons, the least of which being it featured two pitchers coming off dominant shutouts on Wednesday.

Of greater significance, however, was that both softball teams remain factors in their respective section races, especially after Garden Spot (5-4 Section Two, 5-7 overall) held off the visiting Lady Comets 2-1, thanks in part to the veteran battery of junior pitcher Taylor Martin and senior catcher Courtney Petersheim.

Leading 2-0 in the top of the sixth, the Spartans' duo thwarted a bases-loaded jam by Penn Manor (6-3 Section One, 6-3 overall) in allowing just one run to cross the plate.

A pair of one-out singles by Comets' freshman Brittany Hook and junior Samantha Duplissey opened the rally. Martin then embarked on three-straight full-count at-bats, inducing a ground ball down the third-base line off the bat of freshman Sydney Duplissey to force Allysa Shriver, running for Hook, at third base.

A walk to Addy Long loaded the bases, before Martin ran a 2-0 count on the Comets' Maddy Curtis that prompted a visit from Spartans' head coach Julia Parmer.

"I trust them a lot, I trust me more," Parmer joked regarding the visit with her veteran battery. "Those two, they're so experienced and they've worked together for three years now. They keep each other calm and balanced. It's nice to see."

With Petersheim and Martin calling their own pitches, Martin fought back to a full-count on Curtis, a pair of foul balls extending the at-bat. But Curtis earned the walk on a high pitch to bring in what would be Penn Manor's lone run of the game.

"Sometimes the umps change to your strike zone," Martin said. "If (the umpire) gives it high then I'll keep throwing it high, (if not) then I'll try inside. Sometimes I have to go back and forth."

The junior pitcher adjusted with the next at-bat, striking out Bri Wood-Hickey on three hard pitches.

"She had the adrenaline, throw fast balls," Petersheim said. "With us, too, it's just a mental thing, she (Martin) knows what I'm going to call. Sometimes she calls it from the mound, and it works."

Martin finished with 10 strikeouts, this coming off a 14-strikeout performance in a 3-0 victory Wednesday versus McCaskey. Martin also forced nine ground-ball outs Friday; Hanna Greineder's double in the fifth and Danielle Wright's pop-up to right in the seventh were the Comets' only two balls hit to the outfield.

Martin credited her curveball for the groundouts, noting that her changeup "was not working so much today. A lot of the girls were up on the plate so I threw a lot of inside fastballs and they just couldn't get around on them."

"She certainly threw well, she kept hitting her inside corner pitch, the umpire called it strikes," Penn Manor head coach Dave Stokes said. "It's tough for kids to play in tight games all the time, too. (We) had opportunities and unfortunately we didn't capitalize tonight. That's softball."

Penn Manor finished with five hits and three walks while Garden Spot had just three hits off Comets' freshman pitcher Brittany Hook (11K's, 1BB), who was coming off a one-hitter in which she accumulated 18 strikeouts in a 1-0 shutout versus Conestoga Valley.

But following a one-out error at first base in the third, leaving Sophia Charles safe at first, Petersheim came up to the plate with a chance to do some damage.

The lone senior batter for either team on the day, Petersheim (1-for-3) launched Hook's offering to the alleyway in right-centerfield for an RBI double, scoring on a single by freshman Abby Foor (1-for-3).

For Garden Spot, the win keeps pace with Etown and Solanco in their first season in Section Two. The Spartans will battle another Section One opponent in Manheim Township Monday night at Stauffer Park.

"It's a challenge, but I feel confident in our team, and it really showed today," Petersheim said, adding that being in a section race "brings us together as a team more, knowing the challenge and knowing that we have each others' back."

Said Martin of playing in a section race, "it definitely keeps the adrenaline pumping each game, because every game is so important. You just have to keep the team up."

And more importantly for the Spartans, keeping the battery in charge.


Girls' High School Softball

L-L Section One-Two Crossover

Garden Spot 2, Penn Manor 1

PM 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 1 5 2

GS 0 0 2 0 0 0 x - 2 3 1

WP-T. Martin; LP-B. Hook

K-BB-B. Hook (6IP, 11K, 1BB) and S. Duplissey; T. Martin (7IP, 10K, 3BB) and C. Petersheim

2B-H. Greineder (PM); C. Petersheim (GS)