By Nathan Mayberg
MONGAUP VALLEY May 6, 2005 The Liberty softball team used an offensive surge from its top three batters to defeat the Monticello Lady Panthers 8-4 on Wednesday afternoon in a fast-paced, non-league softball game at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
Libertys Brittany Melchick went 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored. Catcher Saritza Vazquez had three hits and scored three runs, and Brittany Strysko went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI.
Winning pitcher Marla Egan held Monticello to four runs on seven hits. She struck out five batters while going all seven innings.
Both coaches gave their baserunners the steal sign on nearly every play. In addition, both teams were perfect in their stolen base attempts.
Liberty scored first, thanks to an RBI double by Jessica Franke in the top of the third. Melchick then drove her home on an RBI single which struck Lady Panther pitcher Rachael Huffman in the foot. Huffman was visibly shaken by the hard-hit ball, but she showed a lot of courage by pitching the rest of the game.
The Lady Panthers got one run back in the bottom of the third inning with a bases-loaded single by Connie Stofko.
Stofko, who is the only senior on the Monti roster, led the team with two hits and a run scored. She was just as good on defense as she was at the plate. The Lady Panthers third baseman, Stofko made two double plays by catching sharp line drives and then stepping on the bag to nail the leading runner.
Monticellos Katy Gonzalez tied up the game by scoring from third base on a ground ball hit by Nicole Accomando.
After the Lady Panthers tied the game, Liberty regained the lead with a four-run fifth inning.
Monticello (2-7) fired back in the bottom of the inning with a two-run rally, but it proved not to be enough.
Liberty tacked on two more runs to record the 8-4 victory.
Afterwards, Liberty Coach John Wilhelm called it a good game on both sides.
I thought we played well, he added. We hit the ball real well. We made the plays we had to make.
He said the team has been playing well in its last few games. With the victory over Monticello, the Lady Indians improved their record to 4-6 on the season.
Monticello Coach Ed Kaufmann was pleased with his teams performance. He said the team needed more offense against the Lady Indians, but is steadily improving..