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SOFTBALL: Bulldogs Rally Past Cadets

Millard’s shift to top of order does wondersMillard’s shift to top of order does wonders

April 11, 2012
By MIKE HUGHES For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BRIDGEPORT - Batting has not been Bridgeport's forte this season. Its 1-8 record through nine game's attested to that.

Trailing 3-1 to Linsly on Tuesday, the Bulldogs appeared headed to a ninth loss.

But a hunch played by Coach Tom Joseph paid off and the Bulldogs generated nine runs during the final three innings in a 9-5 victory.

It was a similar outcome to the two teams' earlier matchup, with Linsly scoring late in the seventh to earn a 4-3 triumph in Wheeling.

''They came back, rallied and worked hard and deserve all the credit in the world,'' Linsly coach Darryl Crews said. ''That's similar to how we beat them earlier. We were down and came back in the seventh and beat them.''

None struggled for Bridgeport more than left fielder Amber Millard. The sophomore, despite possessing a solid bat, was hitless batting out of the ninth spot in the order.

But Joseph noticed Millard's stroke picked up during practice recently and, going with his gut, bumped her up to second for a change of scenery.

It worked.

Millard clubbed a pair of well-hit singles, driving in a run and scoring three. Her final at-bat was a hard-hit grounder through through the left side that resulted in an error and a run scored during a four-run sixth.

The victory puts Bridgeport at 2-8 heading into today's matchup against Barnesville, the only other team the Bulldogs have beaten.

''We struggled all year at the plate but we're finally starting to hit,'' Joseph said. ''We got some solid hits. This is our second win and I can see good things happening but we're still young and have ways to go.''

Freshman Kerri Renzler was not to be outdone. Renzler had one single, but reached safely twice, driving in three runs including a sacrifice fly to left in the sixth.

Ashley Hadzima had an RBI double while Kallie Myers and Kendra Rhodes each singled.

The loss put a damper on a quality start from the Cadets' Sarah Johnson.

Johnson allowed only one run on three hits through four innings.

But when Myers' line drive to right in the fifth resulted in a single, Crews opted to make a change to shake things up.

''She pitched well but they were starting to get to her a bit so I decided to make a change,'' Crews said.

Katie Smith came on in relief, allowing only three hits. But Smith's entry coincided with Linsly catching the error bug - three between the fifth and sixth.

In the home dugout, Hadzima secured a victory, fanning seven and walking three through while scattering six hits.

Hadzima benefitted from solid defensive play through 6 2/3 innings before a couple of miscues made things momentarily interesting in the seventh.

''She pitched pretty well,'' Joseph said. ''She threw strikes and we were able to field it behind her.''

Linsly (6-8) received run-producing hits from Madison Steinkirchner, Emma Cecil, Katie Danielle Muster and Johnson, with Smith tacking on a pair of singles.

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