When North Carroll's Angie Springer faced the Liberty softball team two weeks ago, the Lions tagged the junior right-hander for four runs before losing a one-run game in extra innings.
Springer made sure the rematch wouldn't be as close as she allowed one run on six hits, and the Panthers took advantage of six Liberty errors for an 8-1 win yesterday in Eldersburg.
North Carroll broke open a 3-1 game with five runs in the top of the seventh against Lions junior pitcher Lindsey Rankin, but Springer's off-speed work on the mound was the difference.
"I just had to work the corners," said Springer, who coaxed Liberty batters to fly out seven times in the five innings she pitched. "I had some off-speed stuff, but mostly my fastball was on."
Panthers coach Lloyd Ford credited Springer and senior catcher Beth Reeb for developing a strategy to befuddle the Liberty lineup, which left nine runners on base.
"Angie is the one who is going to move it around and change speeds," Ford said. "Sometimes, because she doesn't overpower people, she's going to work with someone on base."
The victory helped North Carroll improve to 8-1 and 6-1 in the conference and bounce back from a 2-1 loss Friday to Westminster, which ended a seven-game winning streak.
"We wanted to come back and win this one after losing Friday," said senior center fielder Tiffany Langan, who was 3-for-3, scored once, and drew a walk. "We wanted to keep our record up."
Through the first four innings, Springer and Rankin kept runs off the scoreboard. But the Panthers struck in the top of the fifth.
After Langan drilled a lead-off single, Lions senior third baseman Robyn McCormick misplayed a bunt by junior second baseman Valerie Mathis, who reached first base safely.
After a double steal, Reeb lifted a 2-2 fastball to left field, and Langan scored from third. Sophomore shortstop Kristy Shaffer drew a walk on four straight pitches, and sophomore right fielder Lisa Worden lined a single to left to load the bases.
A passed ball allowed Mathis to score, then an error by Liberty senior shortstop Danielle Caplan gave Shaffer enough time to score for a 3-0 North Carroll lead.