When it mattered most, Long Reach pitcher Kristen Schaper got the outs she needed to lead the Lightning to a 3-1 victory yesterday over host River Hill.
The Hawks left 10 runners on base, six in scoring position. River Hill's first three batters reached base in the seventh, but Schaper kept them there by retiring the next three.
"When you get the bases loaded and no outs, you look to get somebody in," said River Hill coach Dave Vitagliano. "But you have to give [Schaper] credit."
Schaper , who gave up three hits, struck out seven and walked five, got off to a rocky start by walking River Hill's leadoff hitter on four pitches. The Hawks (7-3) left two runners on base in each of the first two innings.
"I was off in the beginning. I was throwing low," said Schaper, who fought off the chilly, windy conditions and made the pitches she needed to.
"Kristen pitched when she had to pitch, and that's her best quality," said Long Reach coach Chuck Struhar. "She can buckle down when she needs to."
Long Reach (9-1) scored single runs in the first, third and sixth innings for a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
River Hill's Robin Smith reached first on an error and moved to second on Aneesha Griffin's sharp single down the third-base line. Amanda Bile's grounder was stopped by Schaper, who looked to third to make the force out. But third baseman Amber Haney, in her first start of the season for the injured Jennifer Kennedy, wasn't near the bag.
Schaper got Lisa Humphrey to fly out to shallow right field for the first out, then struck out clean-up hitter Marie Ziesat on three pitches. Kelli Myers' grounded Schaper's first pitch to Haney, who threw to first instead of tagging the third base bag for the final out.
Haney was glad to redeem herself. "It was a chance to make up for the rest of the game, because I don't think I played up to my potential," she said.
Haney said she probably "took the hard way out" by throwing to first on the final play, but she never hesitated and made a good throw.
"I would have gone to third, but she chose to go to first, and it was the right call," Struhar said.
River Hill pitcher Shannon Jackson scattered five hits -- two by Keri Filipowicz -- and walked four. Three of those walks led to two Long Reach runs.
Jackson walked right fielder Ashley Naimaster to start the game. After a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly, Naimaster scored on Emily Holloway's single. Naimaster, who made an outstanding catch to rob Griffin in the fifth, led off the third with a single, and scored on Schaper's one-out grounder to first. Jackson walked two in the sixth, including Tina Rezaiyan on four pitches, bringing in the Lightning's final run.
River Hill, which lost to Long Reach, 2-1, to open the season, scored its run in the fifth, when Bile walked, stole second, got to third on a passed ball and scored on Humphrey's groundout.