Too much too soon for PHU

An early 10-1 deficit is too much for the Hurricanes to overcome.

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Correspondent
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.