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Third-inning play boosts the Cougars

JIM REESE
Published March 14, 2004

DURANT - The key play in Durant's 4-1 win against Sarasota Riverview on Saturday came early in game in the third inning.

With the score tied at one, the Rams' Natasha Childs was heading home from second on a sharp single to center.

The throw from Durant centerfielder Leslie Corbett was in line but took a high bounce, and it appeared Childs would beat the throw and put her Rams up by a run.

But Cougars catcher Lauren Pulling reached high for the throw while blocking the plate, forcing the runner to go around her. Pulling grabbed the ball, turned and dove toward the plate, tagging out the runner to end the inning.

"That play was huge for us," said Durant coach Missy Hernandez said.

Pulling's only thought was to catch the ball. "(Childs) was so close to home I knew if I didn't concentrate on catching the ball, she'd score for sure. I was just lucky the way things worked out."

Junior pitcher Krysta Harris (6-1) won her second complete game in less than 24 hours, allowing just four hits. The Cougars beat Sarasota 5-1 on Friday night.

"I started to tire a bit in the seventh, but I felt real good with that three-run lead," Harris said. "My support today was outstanding, especially on that great play Lauren made at home."

The Rams (5-2) opened scoring in the first when Michelle Hendrickson led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly. Durant (7-1) tied it in the bottom of the inning when Cari Curfman doubled and came home on an RBI single by Beth Nolan. Nolan also drove in Mindy Corbett in the third inning with another single.

Pulling had a hand in the final two Durant runs in the sixth inning when her triple drove in pinch-runner Ashley Woodall to put the Cougars up 3-1. Pulling then scored Durant's final run, sliding home under the catcher's tag on a perfectly-executed squeeze play by Leslie Corbett.

Harris finished strong, allowing just three hits over the final six innings.

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