Softball: Trinity topples Nazareth, snaps skid
Updated: May 15, 2012 8:25PM
It truly was a game of inches and No. 16 Trinity used that to its advantage to grind out a 3-0 victory over host Nazareth Tuesday and halt a two-game skid.
With the game scoreless after four innings, Blazers junior Ashley Klauss came to the plate with two outs and nobody on in the top of the fifth. Klauss lined a 2-1 pitch by Nazareth hurler Holly Haberkorn (seven hits, one walk, eight strikouts) toward the center fielder, who took a step in before she realized the ball was hit a bit harder than she anticipated. She quickly retreated, but the ball cleared her glove by inches and rolled deep into the outfield as Klauss circled the bases and was safe on a close play at home plate for her first varsity home run.
“I was thinking middle after grounding out to second my first time up when I should have taken a walk,” Klauss said. “At first I thought she caught it after I hit it toward center. I saw coach (Bob) Osborne waving me on so I didn’t slow down because I figured it was going go be a close and I didn’t want to be out — and, as it turned out, it was a bang-bang play at home.”
Trinity’s Osborne said he thought the ball was caught and said he wavered on whether to send Klauss to the plate with two outs in a 0-0 game.
“To Ashley’s credit, she went full speed all the way around the bases and then I figured with two outs take a chance and send her home and she made a great hook slide to get around the tag,” he said. “Usually if the shortstop catches the ball before the runner hits third base I’ll hold her, but she caught it right before she hit the base and she was a little deep so I sent her.
“We needed something to spark us, so I figured, what the heck, and she made a big play. When you’re not hitting, like we haven’t been, you have to try to take advantage when you do get runners on.”
Trinity (26-6) added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, both coming on tight calls. Pinch-hitter Gaby Parravincini laid off a two-strike pitch that was just inches off the corner and followed with a two-out single. In the seventh, a ball that just nicked off the glove of the Roadrunners’ catcher allowed two Blazers base runners to move up to second and third, and a ground ball out to shortstop by pitcher Chase Machain resulted in a 3-0 cushion for Trinity.
Nazareth (16-15) had the game of inches work against it on at least two occasions on offense. Miranda Helmer led off the bottom of the first with a walk and appeared to give the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead when Haberkorn laced an apparent triple down the right-field line. However, the ball rolled just out of play so it was ruled a ground-rule double. Machain (complete game, three hits, two walks, 10 strikeouts) got out of the inning unscathed as she struck out the next three hitters.
In the third, Nazareth loaded the bases after the first two batters fanned, and Mary Grace Chizewski lined a Machain offering down the right-field line that might have cleared the bases had it stayed fair. However, it was foul by inches and she struck out on the next pitch to end the uprising.
“I was disappointed on a couple of occasions that our defense let pitcher Holly Haberkorn down because I thought she gave a really good effort,” Nazareth coach Kristen Stojetz said. “Unfortunately, a couple of mistakes and a couple of near misses hurt us. We got runners on, but we just couldn’t get them in. But I saw a lot of good things out there today, too. The girls never quit.”
Klauss added a single and reached on an error in four plate appearances and scored twice, while Brittany Bura tripled, singled and scored to lead the Trinity offensive attack.