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Softball: Paczewski Perfect For Dragons

Senior struck out all nine hitters she faced

March 16, 2012
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

CAMERON - Coach Mark Witzberger watched his heartbroken Cameron softball team walk off the field devastated following a hard-to-swallow extra-inning loss to Wheeling Central in a West Virginia Class A regional game last May.

So opening the 2012 campaign on a positive note was something that he and his Dragons were hoping for Thursday afternoon with Hundred paying a visit.

Needless to say, Cameron has put the past in the past and the Dragons appear ready to breath fire again this spring.

Senior standout Tara Paczewski spun a perfect game, striking out all nine hitters she faced, and classmate Cassidi Richmond blasted a pair of home runs and chased home five runs as the Dragons rolled to an impressive 14-0, three-inning, victory against the Hornets.

"It's real nice to open with a win, that makes everybody happy," Witzberger said. "Now we just need to keep going and build from there. Our main goal is to keep improving and be successful every day.

"I think there was a little bit of jitters as with any opener, but mainly because we did an awful lot of experimenting with things at practice. But you never know what is going to happy until the ball is put into play and you see it work."

Everything worked well from the beginning for Witzberger's bunch, with Paczewski fanning the first three batters she faced before the Dragons put up five runs in the bottom of the first to take command.

Richmond got things goings, ripping the first pitch she saw over the right fielder's head for a home run a quick 1-0 advantage. A bases loaded walk to Taylor Whipkey later in the frame made it 2-0 before Natalie Trowbridge belted a two-run single.

Ashley Berardi's run-scoring single capped the rally.

Things didn't get much better for coach Brian Bartlett's Hundred squad in the home-half of the second as the Dragons sent 13 batters to the dish and put up nine more runs.

The big blast was Richmond's grand slam deep over the left fielder's head that plated the final four tallies of the contest.

"Boy, that was sweet watching Cassidi Richmond hit two home runs to get us started," Witzberger smiled. "Overall, I think we ran the bases well and just got off to an great start. But I did take some notes and there are still some things to improve on."

Along with her nine strikeouts, on just 40 pitches, Paczewski also had a pair of singles, an RBI and was hit by a pitch. Whipkey added a base hit and plated a trio of runs.

"Tara did an outstanding job (Thursday)," Witzberger said. "We have asked her to really concentrate on the strike zone and there is no question that is what she did. It was also a nice to look out there and see our fielders ready on every play, even though she didn't allow them to get any opportunities."

Cameron will try to continue its early season success Monday afternoon when the Dragons travel to the J.C. Chambers I-470 Sports Complex to take on Bishop Donahue.

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