More than rivalry motivates Bandhauer's clutch hitting
By CAREY FREEMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 1, 2001
It may seem rather odd given the intensity of the Citrus-Lecanto rivalry, but one of the key factors in Lecanto's 4-3 comeback win Tuesday night was a case of self indulgence and oneupsmanship.
That's right, Jill Bandhauer wasn't necessarily thinking about team goals when she smacked a one-out triple in the bottom of the seventh inning -- a hit that was pivotal in sending the Hurricanes to their first loss of the season.
No, Bandhauer was thinking about her status and how it related to that of Panthers baseball players Daulton Meyers and Eric Stewart.
The three, who practiced together during the off-season, have a little game among themselves that they play every time their respective teams take the field.
The one who has the best offensive performance is declared the winner. The one with the worst wears a pin to signify their ignominious status.
Bandhauer needed a triple to stay on top and best the double that Meyers had in Lecanto's 11-9 baseball loss to Belleview. Luckily for coach Amy Lilley and her Panthers, Meyers stopped by the field long enough to make Bandhauer aware of her quota.
"Dalton came over and told me, 'Hey, there's no pressure. You need a triple to win,' " Bandhauer said.
Little did Meyers know how prophetic his words would be. Bandhauer connected on a screaming line-drive just two pitches later and scored the winning run two batters later.
"It really helped," Bandhauer said. "I had struck out twice and singled before that. When he said that, I just locked in and focused. It was a little key that helped me focus and get ready."
STRIKING SOME SUCCESS: Lost amid six Citrus errors was a pretty solid performance from pitcher Tabitha Schrufer.
A starter the last three seasons, Schrufer seems to have added some speed and movement to her pitches. Schrufer struck out nine Lecanto batters, including the side in the second, giving up just two unearned runs. However, the Panthers managed to find the handle on her delivery late in the game, producing the winning run on two hard-hit shots in the seventh.
For Lecanto's Emily Bayer, who struck out seven, the story was quite different.
Bayer surrendered all three of her runs (one earned) in the first three innings and grew steadier as the game progressed. She shut down the Hurricanes in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
ERRORS AND MORE ERRORS: Citrus' mistake-filled loss to Lecanto was uncharacteristic for a team that has thrived on defense the last four seasons.
Four of the errors came at crucial times in the sixth inning and allowed Lecanto to tie the score at 3. "We made way too many errors tonight," Citrus coach Scott Waters said. "Two of their four runs were unearned. We should be walking out of here with a win ... if the defense does its job."
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