Bryant propels Sandburg past LockportLexi Bryant of Sandburg heads to first with a base hit.
Updated: April 25, 2011 6:24AM
Lexi Bryant made sure it was Lockport that blinked first.
"My mindset was just to make a play," the Sandburg senior catcher said.
Bryant drilled a run-scoring double into left center to break a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh propelling the visiting No. 6 Eagles past No. 11 Lockport 3-0 Monday afternoon.
"I don't even know what the pitch was," Bryant said.
She atoned for her previous plate appearance when she struck out in the fifth with two outs and runners at first and second.
"I didn't let that get me down. I was talking with some of the other batters, and we were all just pumping each other up.
"But I also knew that I had other hitters behind me."
The scintillating game featured a classic pitchers' duel between the Eagles' Lora Olson and the Porters' Kelly Bowler.
The two battled like heavyweights, each thwarting every potential run opportunity by the other until the Eagles' final at-bat.
Olson (5-3) fired a three-hitter and struck out a season-best nine and allowed just a single walk.
"This is our biggest rival," Olson said.
The Eagles also wanted to atone for last year's game that saw the Porters jump out to an 8-0 lead after four innings and hold on for the 8-7 victory. The loss snapped the Eagles' perfect start in their otherwise glorious 40-2 Class 4A state champions.
"We didn't have to be reminded of last year," Olson said.
The Eagles appeared to take the lead in the third inning on sophomore Candice Koch's sacrifice fly. On appeal, the umpire ruled junior Amanda Barna left too early.
The Eagles (9-4, 2-0 SouthWest Suburban Blue) erupted for three hits and two walks in their final at-bat. With one out, left-handed hitter Karissa Kouchis started the barrage by drilling a double down the left field line.
Koch's shot into centerfield put runners at the corner.
Bryant laced the go-ahead run.
"It was the one pitch that got away, the one Kelly left hanging," Lockport coach Marissa Chovanec said.
Following a walk to Jess Perkins, Olson aided her own cause, a fielder's choice that scored the second run. Kelly Sheridan added an insurance run by inducing a bases-loaded walk moments later.
Olson was dynamic. She mowed the Porters down, allowing just two base runners in the final four innings.
"We've had some struggles so far this year," Olson said. "We've learned that this year is much different than last. We have to earn everything, and nobody's going to just give us anything. We're the team everybody wants to beat.
"It was a great win against a very good team and a great pitcher," she said.
Bowler (4-2) struck out seven and scattered seven hits for the Porters (12-2-1, 1-1).