By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR Tuesday afternoon’s non- league softball game between the visiting Chester Lady Hambletonians and Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats was a classic pitcher’s duel.
Both offenses struggled against the respective pitchers, Chester freshman left-hander Erin Dunn and Manor senior right-hander Marissa Diescher.
Chester prevailed, 1-0, as a run scored in the top of the first inning became the game-winning run.
Kasey Palmer was the first batter of the game and was hit by a pitch. While clearly affected by being hit with the softball on her left elbow, Palmer made her way to first base. She then advanced to second base on a passed ball.
When Samantha Green struck out and was thrown out at first base by Manor catcher Victoria Taggart, Palmer ran to third base.
The next batter, Cristie Hipsman, bunted the ball. Diescher fielded the ball and threw it to first baseman Jordan Miller to record the second out of the inning. But Palmer sprinted down the line and safely slid under the tag of Taggart, who quickly received a throw from Miller.
Manor (3-1) tried to answer in the bottom of the first as leadoff batter Maggi Calo reached base with an infield single. After a strikeout, Diescher singled to center field.
But Dunn got out of trouble by striking out the next two Lady Wildcats.
In the top of the second, Diescher struck out the first two batters. The next two hitters, Dunn and Grohl, drew walks to give the Lady Hambletonians two baserunners.
But Diescher ended the inning with another strikeout.
Diescher then struck out the side in the third and fourth innings.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Dunn reached base after being hit by a pitch. But Diescher struck out the next two batters to end the frame.
Grohl broke up Diescher’s bid for a no-hitter with an infield single with two outs in the top of the seventh. Grohl then stole second base, but was left there as the next batter struck out.
Paige Clancy led off the bottom of the seventh for the Lady Wildcats and patiently drew a walk.
The next batter, Victoria Davis, hit the ball to center field. But Chester’s Leanne Jankelunas caught the ball for the first out of the inning.
Dunn then struck out the next two batters to seal the victory for the Lady Hambletonians, who are 3-0 on the season.
Dunn had 12 strikeouts and five walks.
Chester Coach Mike Becker noted that it was “an all-around great game” and praised both of the pitchers.
“She’s the best pitcher in Section IX,” Becker said of Diescher. “Erin Dunn pitched a great game for us. She and our defense made that first-inning run stand up for the win.”
Becker also lauded Palmer, who left the game after scoring the run to apply ice and a wrap to her elbow. Palmer later left the field to go to the hospital for further evaluation of her injury.
“She showed a lot of heart by staying in the game and scoring that run for us,” Becker said. “And Leanne [Jankelunas] came in the game for Kasey [Palmer] and she did a great job.”
Diescher recorded 20 strikeouts and issued three walks.
“She pitched well,” Manor Co-Coach Kevin Clifford said.
Clifford also praised Chester, which defeated the Lady Wildcats twice last season.
“Chester played a great game,” he said. “Their pitcher Erin Dunn did a good job.
“A couple of times we hit the ball well, but they were right at people,” Clifford added.