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April 27, 2009

 

Panther softball rolls on

PitchJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Tompkins Cortland County Community College’s Brianna Sheppard was the winning pitcher in Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Herkimer CC.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

DRYDEN — Timely hitting proved beneficial Saturday as Tompkins Cortland Community College softball swept past visiting Herkimer CC.
The Panthers took the opening game 5-2 behind rallying for five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to complete the sweep 6-2. Those two wins, coupled with taking a pair of games at Alfred State Sunday lifted the Panthers to 21-9 overall and 17-3 in Region III. Herkimer fell to 13-7 in Region III and overall Saturday. Alfred State in falls to 12-19 overall and 9-11 in region play.
“Both Brianna (Sheppard) and Megan (Beschler) struggled a little,” said TC3 coach Brent Doane after the Saturday wins over Herkimer. “Brianna really hasn’t pitch in about five days. She had to shake the rust off a little bit. Megan was coming off a 10 inning win against Broome Community College. Both evened out after a couple of innings.
“We are playing really good team ball right now,” Doane added. “Everyone is contributing in one way or another. Whether it is pinch running, a bunt, hitting behind a runner, there is a lot of team effort going on with the offense.”
In the opener, Herkimer scored an unearned run in the first inning, but TC3 countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. A single by Ashley Greenough (2-for-3) and a double from Colleen Bannon (2-for-2) put runners at second and third. Danielle O’Rourke walked to load the bases before Lauren Dykeman hit a sacrifice fly with one out to score Greenough. As O’Rourke got herself into a run down, Bannon also scored.
The Generals tied the game in the top of the second when Chelsey Fancett singled home Brittney Massie. Again, the Panthers answered with three runs for a 5-2 lead. Brooke Wierzbicki singled and Paige Freeman singled with both runners moving up on an error. Homer graduate Ashley Brown laid bunt a single and legged out an infield hit. Wierzbicki broke for the plate late and was thrown out. Greenough belted a two-run double into right-centerfield and she would score on a double by Bannon.
Sheppard allowed just one more hit, four in total, from the third inning on to earn the victory.
In the second game, Herkimer broke out with two first-inning runs, the key his a base-loaded single by Courtney Roberts, that scored both runs with one out. Beschler avoided any further trouble with a pop-out to shortstop and her second of seven strikeouts. she scattered seven hits, but got good defensive support to keep the Generals off the board.
“My defense really helped me out,” said Beschler. “They had the plays down and got the outs when we needed them. My command of my pitches wasn’t as good today. My curveball is my best pitch. I had some trouble with it so I had to use a few other pitches to get my strikeouts.”
After getting one out in the bottom of the third inning, TC3 batted around in the fourth inning, scoring five runs. Beschler helped her own cause with a lead-off double. Joelle Herrick walked and Greenough (3-for-3) had a bunt single. Bannon (3-for-4) singled home Beschler to tie the game and a passed ball allowed Herrick to score the go-ahead run . O’Rourke’s RBI single made the score 4-3 while Kristin Kinney’s ground out allowed Bannon to score. Freeman stroked a two-out single that scored the final run of the inning.
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Panthers Sweep Alfred State
Lauren Dykeman struck out eight batters as TC3 took the first game 5-1. O’Rouke and Kinney each went 2-for-4 at the plate with Dykeman. O’Rourke and Wierzbicki each hit one double.
In the second game, Sheppard was very sharp as she allowed just three hits with eight strikeouts as the Panthers topped the 20-win mark for the third straight season and now enjoy a 10-game winning streak.
Greenough was 3-for-4 with a double, triple, two stolen bases and two runs scored. Bannon added two doubles while Kinney, freeman and Beschler each added two hits apiece.
The Panthers return home Tuesday to host Fulton-Montgomery at 3 p.m.