By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE May 19, 2006 The Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs recorded a dramatic victory over the visiting Liberty Lady Indians on Wednesday afternoon in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV softball game.
With the score knotted at 1-1, SWs Allison Swendsen led off the bottom of the seventh by ripping a single to center field. Swendsen then stole second base and advanced to third base on a passed ball.
The next batter, Stephanie Meyer, hit a ground ball near the pitchers mound. Liberty pitcher Cearra Williams fielded the ball and threw it to first base. However, Meyer beat the throw for an infield single.
Lady Indians first baseman Alanna Bierstine quickly threw the ball to catcher Rebecca Ramirez. Swendsen, who began to sprint down the base line towards home plate when Williams tried to force out Meyer at first, slid under the tag by Ramirez to give the Lady Bulldogs a 2-1 victory.
SW improved its record to 4-6 overall and 3-1 in Division IV. Liberty fell to 2-12 overall and 0-4 in Division IV.
Meyer and Swendsen combined for the Lady Bulldogs other run of the afternoon. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Swendsen hit an infield grounder. When the throw to first was errant, Swendsen quickly ran to second base. Moments later, Meyer stroked a solid single to left field, which allowed Swendsen to score the first run of the game.
SWs 1-0 lead lasted until the top of the sixth. In that frame, Lady Indian leadoff batter Michelle Fancher was hit by a pitch. Jackie Austin then entered the game for Fancher.
Trina Williams bunted, which moved Austin over to second base. Austin tied the game at 1-1 when she scored on a single by Jessica Franke.
Cearra Williams and SW pitcher Sarah Lander kept the opposing hitters in check for most of the game. Williams allowed just four hits and had two strikeouts, while Lander gave up only two hits and recorded seven strikeouts.
Both teams played a good game, Liberty Coach Maggie Novello said. It was definitely a defensive game.
It was tough to end it with the play at the plate, she added.
But Novello found some positives in the one-run defeat.
I am pleased with my team, she commented. They played well and kept working hard.
SW Coach Mike Ellmauer noted that the victory will extend the Lady Bulldogs season.
We had to win three games in our division to qualify for sectionals, so this victory puts us in the sectional tournament, he said. I am so happy to qualify for the sectionals. It means you are in the top 10 percent of teams in the state.
Ellmauer praised Lander, who is only a sophomore.
She did a nice job of keeping them off-balance, he said.
The veteran coach was also impressed with the Liberty Indians. SW prevailed by a very lopsided margin when the teams met earlier this season.
I give Liberty a lot of credit, they played a great game today, Ellmauer commented. Coach [Maggie] Novello has helped them to make some improvements.