Softball: Leopards rely on a stout defense

Gulf gets several runners on base, but Hernando makes sure only one gets home.

By Derek LaRiviere, Times Correspondent
Published March 1, 2008

BROOKSVILLE - Hernando pulled out a 2-1 victory over district rival Gulf on Friday despite stranding nine runners.

"This is how we're going to have to win games," Hernando coach Kevin Bittinger said. "We're never going to score 10 runs against good pitchers like this."

Hernando ace Ari Lowman allowed only one earned run in her complete-game five-hitter, but she was all over the place. To go along with six strikeouts, the southpaw had eight walks and a wild pitch.

Hernando (5-4) stepped up on defense though, as none of the 13 base runners that Lowman put on crossed the plate.

Gulf (6-5) scored its lone run on a home run off the bat of Devin Fellman to lead off the top of the second inning. Fellman was walked her next three at-bats, including a two-out pass in the top of the seventh.

Bucs starter Sara Hill's numbers were impressive (five strikeouts, two walks, one earned run), but errors did her side in.

Gulf committed two miscues in the field, including a throwing error from Fellman that allowed the winning run to plate in the fourth inning.

After Hernando outfielders Jessica Kreider and Brittany Parker each singled to lead off the inning, Leopards catcher Megan Platt bunted both runners into scoring position.

Hill seemed primed to work her way out of trouble, but in an attempt to catch Kreider sleeping on third, Fellman threw the ball away into leftfield. Hill retired the next two batters easily.

"I preach bunting and base running to these girls all the time," Bittinger said. "It really paid off tonight."


Hernando 2 Gulf 1