Sullivan County Democrat
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Holding the Lead

Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

FALLSBURG PITCHER ASHLEY Frunzi throws a pitch in Wednesday’s game versus Tri-Valley. She allowed only four hits.

Comets Withstand
The Bears

By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE — May 17, 2002 – Ten runs proved to be too much.
Visiting Fallsburg jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in its OCIAA Division IV softball game against Tri-Valley Wednesday afternoon. Despite rallying for four runs in the third inning and three more in the fourth, the Lady Bears couldn’t quite close the gap.
Fallsburg (2-11, 1-8 OCIAA) added some insurance runs late in the game to post a 13-7 victory. The win was the first divisional victory for the Lady Comets in four seasons.
The Lady Comets were especially patient at the plate in the first two innings and that paid off. Fallsburg batters coaxed eight walks out of T-V starting pitcher Allison Thayer.
Maria Kanjankova and Michelle Hoefling each drew a walk with the bases loaded in the top of the first to give Fallsburg a 2-0 lead. The Lady Comets added two more runs in the frame on an infield hit by Sarah Halprin and a double steal.
Fallsburg added five runs in the second inning. The key hits were an infield hit by Halprin that allowed Jocelyn Hernandez to score and a line drive double down the right field line by Sarah Moore. That brought Irene Nikolados and Crystal Ryder around to score and give the Lady Comets a 9-0 lead.
After Fallsburg scored another run in the top of the third, T-V (4-11, 2-8 OCIAA) rallied in the bottom of that frame. With Destiny Hinkley on third base and Melissa Bachmann on first, Tiffany Paul ripped a triple to right field, which allowed both Hinkley and Bachmann to score.
Paul scored when the next batter, Lacey Moore grounded out. The Lady Bears cut the Fallsburg lead to 10-4 later in the inning when Heather Bachmann tripled and then scored on a passed ball.
The Lady Comets scored a run in the top of the fourth to make it an 11-4 contest, but the Lady Bears rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning. Melissa Bachmann had a two-RBI single in the frame and Paul scored on a passed ball to make it an 11-7 game.
Fallsburg, however, added an insurance run in the fifth and another in the seventh to preserve the victory.
“Fortunately, we were able to get those 10 runs early,” Fallsburg Coach Joe Levner said. “Tri-Valley battled back, but we were able to hang on and win the game.”
Levner praised the performance of pitcher Frunzi. She allowed only four hits and struck out seven.
“She piched very well,” Levner said. “She really pitched out of a jam in the sixth inning. That was huge.”
That jam Levner referred to was probably T-V’s best opportunity to close the gap or possibly even tie the game.
With the Lady Comets holding a 12-7 lead in the bottom of the sixth, the first three T-V batters reached base. Melissa Bachmann walked, Paul was hit by a pitch and Moore had an infield hit to load the bases with no outs.
The next batter, Heather Bachmann, hit the ball back to Frunzi, who threw to catcher Nicole Perrello to force out Melissa Bachmann at the plate. Frunzi then got Julie Donovan to fly out and Ellie Dymond to ground out to end the Lady Bear scoring threat.
“That’s the way it’s been all season,” said T-V Coach Mary Feusner after the disappointing loss. “This seems to be the year that we are snake bit. We gave up too many unearned runs early on and didn’t have the offense to take care of business later.”
Levner noted that despite having only two victories, the Lady Comets have been improving as the season has progressed. He especially praised the play of the team’s six seniors – Hernandez, Hoefling, Kanjankova, Nikolados, Perrello and Ryder.
“They’ve been playing since freshman year and have definitely improved,” Levner said. “They stayed committed to the program. They have been through a lot and deserve a lot of credit.”

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