By Rob Potter
SLATE HILL June 5, 2001 The Chapel Field bats and Julie Schapers right arm spelled trouble for Livingston Manor Saturday afternoon.
Chapel Field (223) scored 14 runs on nine hits and ace pitcher Schaper kept the Manor batters off balance all afternoon as Chapel Field posted a lopsided 14-0 win in the Section IX Class D softball championship game at Minisink Valley High School in Slate Hill.
Schaper set the tone for the game in the first inning by striking out the side. The freshman hurler consistently stayed ahead of the Lady Wildcat batters and worked the corners of the plate with precision.
Although Schaper struck out 15 batters on the afternoon, the Manor hitters prevented her from tossing her fifth no-hitter of the season. Rachelle Irwin led off the fourth inning with a bloop single that dropped just inside the left field line a few feet behind third base. Then in the top of the seventh, Amanda Irwin ripped a two-out single down the right field line.
But after Rachelle Irwins hit, Schaper struck out the next three batters to end any scoring threat. And following Amanda Irwins hit, Schaper ended the contest with a strikeout.
She was on today, Chapel Field coach Bill Spanjer said. And when shes on, it makes us feel more confident about winning the game. She threw very well today.
Schapers teammates gave her more than enough run support. The Lady Lions scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and added four more in the second, two in the third, four in the fourth and a final run in the fifth.
Schaper helped herself at the plate, ripping an RBI-double in the third inning and an RBI-single in the fourth.
But, of course, she was most effective on the mound. She got many of her strikeouts with her change-up.
That worked pretty well, Schaper said of her off-speed pitch. I felt pretty good out there.
Schaper added that she felt pretty confident since she had already seen the Manor batters twice in the regular season. (Schaper threw a one-hitter to beat Manor 6-0 on April 27 and tossed a two-hitter in an 8-0 win on May 11.)
But any team can get up for a big game like this, so you cant just let up, she said.
They just couldnt hit her, Manor (117) coach Gail Denman said. They were real nervous, and [pitcher] Alys Mann was nervous and frustrated.
Manor gave the Lions opportunities with uncharacteristic miscues.
My defense usually doesnt make those mistakes, Denman noted.
Still, she pronounced this a great season, and Im real proud of them. We went from 313 to 117 and they really worked hard for it.