After playing its worst game of the season Thursday, Long Reach responded yesterday with a gem.
Senior pitcher Kristen Schaper allowed one hit and struck out 12 and Long Reach's defense was flawless behind her as the Lightning outlasted visiting Glenelg, 1-0, in eight innings.
The Lightning (8-1 overall and league) was coming off a 7-1 loss to Atholton in which it committed six errors. Yesterday, Long Reach's infield, led by shortstop Tina Rezaiyan and second baseman Rachel Jordan, was solid as a rock.
Glenelg junior pitcher Shannon Emerson was as effective as Schaper. Emerson allowed one hit -- an infield single -- struck out one and walked two.
The Gladiators (6-3) began the extra inning with Erin Hollrah on second base. Amanda McCabe struck out on a failed bunt attempt, and Chrissy Starcher went down swinging. Hollrah stole third, but Kirby Brooks grounded out to second to end the inning.
Long Reach, which halfway through the season is tied with Atholton for first, had Emily Holloway on second to start the bottom of the eighth. Glenelg coach Dean Sheridan had Emerson walk Jordan to set up a force at third.
Rezaiyan came to bat with one thing in mind. "I was trying to put it in play and make them do something with the ball," she said.
Rezaiyan bunted back toward the middle. Emerson fielded it, but her throw to third went off the glove of shortstop Lauren Koutrelakos and into foul territory. Holloway scored without a throw.
The victory was important for Long Reach for two reasons. It kept the Lightning in first place and restored its confidence.
"The kids lost a lot of confidence the way they played against Atholton," Long Reach coach Chuck Struha said. "We're back on track."
Schaper, who had 14 strikeouts last week against Howard, agreed.
"After a game like that, you want to come out and play your best," said Schaper, who took a drive off her left knee in the fourth that resulted in Glenelg's only hit. "I don't think we felt as pressured as we did against Atholton."
Glenelg, which got an outstanding game defensively from Koutrelakos, suffered its third one-run loss.