Early lead carries Chiefs
Chamberlain builds a 10-1 lead, holds on to beat Palm Harbor U.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published May 2, 2007
TAMPA - Make no mistake, Chamberlain coach Bob Diez is thrilled his team is headed to its third straight final four. He's just a bit perplexed at how the Chiefs finished Tuesday's night's 10-4 win over Palm Harbor University.
At one point, Chamberlain led 10-1.
But in the seventh, PHU made it interesting by takings advantage of two walks, two errors and a single. When Chamberlain (28-2) reliever Alex Hartshorn induced the final two outs with a strikeout and a grounder, the Hurricanes had the bases loaded.
"We shouldn't have been here in the seventh, " Diez said. "We quit two or three innings early. It's bad that I can't be excited. We just had a total loss of focus at the end."
After a dreadful start, the Hurricanes (23-5) produced five of their seven hits in the final two innings. Maddie O'Brien led the charge with a three-hit performance, the last of which drove in PHU's final run.
"We came out and played bad early, " PHU coach Chuck Poetter said. "But they didn't quit, and I'm proud of them for that."
Until the end, Chamberlain dominated.
Starting pitcher Brittany Cavalli stifled a PHU offense that had combined for 24 runs in its two previous games. And once again, the Chiefs blistered the ball with their bats.
Six players had hits. Five - Kasie Hatfield, Samantha Holle, Stephanie Medina, Jessica Mouse and Mary Kate Smith had two hits each. Medina, a freshman, doubled twice.
"We've been hitting like this all year, " Diez said.
Chamberlain 10, PHU 4