Bonnie Lawson pitched a one-hitter for No. 3 John Carroll yesterday, but Bel Air's Amy Finlayson had the better control, leading the Bobcats to a 3-2 upset in a Harford County league softball game.
Although Lawson didn't allow a hit through 5 1/3 innings, she struggled with the strike zone much of the game. In a streaky performance, the senior left-hander struck out 12, but also walked 10 and hit two.
After some harassment by a Bel Air fan in the fourth inning when she hit a second Bobcat in the batting helmet, a shaken Lawson pulled herself together and struck out three straight. An inning later, however, she struggled again, walking four in a row to help the Bobcats bring in the winning run.
On the other hand, Finlayson looked steady the whole game. The junior right-hander mixed her pitches and allowed just five hits, striking out 12 and walking two. She did not face more than five batters in an inning.
The Bobcats' defense was also steady. After an error on the first play of the game, they played flawlessly the rest of the way.
"We knew the pressure was on John Carroll because they're not supposed to be beaten this year, and we had nothing to lose," said Tasha Rice, the Bobcats' center fielder after making a running catch for the final out of the game. "All we had to do was come out and play our best, and we did."
John Carroll (11-2 overall, 5-1 league) started the scoring in the third inning. Amity Torbit singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Katie Nietubicz's single.
The lead didn't last long, however, as Bel Air (8-4, 5-1) got two in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded, Patriots right fielder Melissa Smith dropped Jamie Kocher's short fly ball, allowing two runs to score.
The Patriots got that run back in the fourth. Smith tied it at 2-2 on a single that drove in Kelly Barnes, who had walked and stolen second.
Early on, the Patriots' infield defense bailed out Lawson. After Lawson walked leadoff hitter Danielle Rohde in the first inning, first baseman Heather Pyzik turned in back-to-back defensive gems, including doubling off Rohde on Rice's infield pop-up.
In the third, catcher Barnes and shortstop Torbit saved a run by nailing Rohde trying to steal second base. Barnes bounced the throw but Torbit made a fine diving tag.
Bel Air catcher Shelby Robbins also threw out a runner trying to steal. In the sixth inning, Robbins' throw to shortstop Rohde easily nailed Lisa Chrismer.
The win keeps Bel Air in the hunt for at least a share of the county title, but the top of the Harford County league is crowded. In addition to the Bobcats and Patriots, Edgewood, C. Milton Wright and Havre de Grace all remain in contention.