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Democrat Photo by Lori Brown

MONTICELLO'S MARISSA SMITHEM slides safely into home plate on a passed ball during the sixth inning of Friday afternoon’s non-league softball game versus John S. Burke Catholic High School. Looking on with disappointment is Burke pitcher Nicole Knapp.

Burke Takes
The Lead

By Lori Brown
MONGAUP VALLEY — May 9, 2006 – The John S. Burke Catholic High School Lady Eagles grabbed an early lead against the host Monticello Lady Panthers on Friday afternoon in a non-league softball game at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
Burke scored five runs in the top of the first inning and went on to record an 11-3 victory.
Lady Eagles’ pitcher Michelle Bianchetti held Monticello scoreless in the bottom of the first.
Burke (8-2) recorded another run in the top of the second as Diana Polli crossed the plate on a passed ball.
The Lady Panthers scored their first run in the bottom of the second. Jackie Litwak hit a triple and Diana Accardo made a sacrifice bunt to bring Litwak home.
Following a scoreless third inning, Burke still enjoyed a 6-1 advantage.
But the Lady Eagles added to their lead in the fourth. Polli had a base hit and then advanced to second base and third base on passed balls. Morgan Douglas ripped a single which allowed Polli to score.
Bianchetti then gave herself some more run support by slamming a triple. Douglas crossed home plate on the extra-bases hit to extend the Lady Eagles’ lead to 8-1. Moments later, Bianchetti scored on a base hit by Chelsea Gallagher.
With only one out and Burke building on its lead, Monticello relief pitcher Rachael Huffman entered the game. But Burke’s Katie Foiles greeted Huffman with a base hit, which allowed Tara Fogarty to score another run for the Lady Eagles.
After a scoreless fifth, Burke scored two runs in the top of the sixth.
Facing a 10-1 deficit, Monticello (2-6) had to become aggressive during its remaining at-bats. That philosophy paid off for the Lady Panthers in the final two innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, leadoff batter Marissa Smithem was walked. She stole second base and advanced to third on a hit by Jaclyn Bunce. Moments later, Smithem scored on a passed ball.
Huffman and her fielders held Burke scoreless during the top of the seventh.
Monticello’s Diana Accardo had a base hit in the bottom of the seventh. Emily Zier slammed a triple to bring Accardo in to score.
The Lady Panthers were able to load the bases later in the frame, but could not take advantage of the situation.
“We did not take care of the ball and didn’t pay attention out there today,” Monticello Coach Ed Kaufmann said.
Pacing the Burke offense were Bianchetti, who went 3-for-3, scored two runs and had two RBIs, and Polli, who had two hits and two RBIs.
Burke Coach Steve Douthit was pleased with Bianchetti’s performance on the mound.
“Michelle Bianchetti pitched a very strong four innings,” Douthit said.
Bianchetti recorded four strikeouts in those four innings.

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