By TERRY JONES
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 17, 2002
TAMPA -- In a battle between two of the top teams in the state, Chamberlain jumped out to an early lead and dealt Sickles its first loss of the season with an 8-3 victory Saturday.
The Chiefs improved to 12-1 and the Gryphons dropped to 10-1.
"When you play Chamberlain, you have to come to play your best ball and we didn't today," Sickles coach Tammy Overcash said. "We had a couple of mental errors early in the game and Chamberlain knew how to take advantage of them. We would have done the same. Chamberlain is just a great team that is well-coached."
Krista Holle put Chamberlain's first run on the board in the first inning. She reached first on a walk, stole second, stole third and scored on Melissa Zick's sacrifice fly to centerfield.
In the bottom of the second, Chamberlain sent every batter to the plate and took a 5-0 lead. With one out, freshman shortstop Ashley Arcuri singled up the middle. Arcuri moved to second on a single by Carly Griffin then to third when Krista Jessup reached on an error in the outfield. Arcuri scored on an infield single by Natalie Ippolito. Griffin scored on Sickles' second error and Brandyce Trowell drove Jessup and Ippolito home on a single to centerfield.
A home run to centerfield by junior Melissa Zick in the sixth padded Chamberlain's lead to 8-0. Jessup started the inning with a single and Holle walked before Zick came to the plate for her three-run blast. Holle has stolen 15 of 15 bases this season.
The Chiefs' defense faltered in the top of the seventh. Back-to-back errors and a walk put Sickles' Darlene Hollister on third, Tiffany Clark on second and Tiffany Stewart on first. Laura Templeton brought in Clark and Hollister with a single to center.
Alex Jones brought Stewart home with a single for the final run of the game.
"We drove in some runs, made some key plays, had strong pitching from Amanda (Cody) and solid defense until the seventh inning," Chamberlain coach Bob Diez said. "This was a big test for us to see if we could play well against the big guys. I think our girls played a good game today."