Dulaney softball wins fourth straight as Hereford rebuilds with young squad

Dulaney High senior pitcher Akirra Pullen allowed two hits and struck out two in the Lions’ 10-0 victory over visiting Hereford (1-4) in softball action on Wednesday.

Sam Beeler (2-for-3) had a double and two RBIs and five other batters had hits for the Lions (4-2).

Pullen retired the first 10 batters before a bunt single by freshman Rose Luba broke up the perfect game.

MiKayla Foo had the only other hit for Hereford.

Dulaney’s Shannon Musolf (2 stolen bases), Hope Eckhart (double), Izzy Hodiste, Kristen Dasch and Pullen all had one hit and Sara Comarami drew three walks and Abby Kaul walked twice for the Lions.

The Lions scored three runs in first inning against starting pitcher McKenzy Hall, who was removed in the inning.

“Our starting pitcher was sick and she pitched, but she was having trouble throwing strikes,” first-year Hereford coach Kevin Klimko said.

Junior Foo relieved her and pitched the final three innings.

“It took us a while to get going, but I thought the girl (Foos) that came in did a pretty good job,” Klimko said. “She doesn’t pitch much because McKenzy usually pitches every inning for us.”

Dulaney put the game away in the second inning with five runs, keyed by a run-scoring single by Pullen and two-run double from Beeler.

Beeler scored on the play when an errant throw to second went into center field.

“Being young, we’re having trouble with communication and things of that nature,” Klimko said. “We are working hard in practice and now we can get outside, but it’s coming slower than I had hoped.”

The only suspense after the second inning was whether Pullen would allow a base runner.

Luba solved that with the bunt single in the fourth.

“She’s a freshman and doesn’t normally start, but I decided to give her a start today just because of her speed, thinking she might spark something and she did come through with that bunt,” Klimko said.

Foo added an opposite field hit to left field in the seventh.

“I threw a lot of fastballs and a lot of rise balls but I feel the girls caught up to it in the last inning,” said Pullen, who will join her sister, Alleshia, at CCBC Catonsville next year.

Alleshia graduated from Dulaney last season.

Akirra batted .519 and belted five home runs for the 17-3 Lions that lost in the regional championship game to Sherwood last year.

She was also 13-3 on the mound with a 1.98 earned run average and, although her sister has moved on, she is happy with this year’s squad.

“We are very comfortable,” Pullen said. “I love everybody on the team. We work really well together and I feel like we’ve got a really good connection.”

Barwick is glad to have her for one last season.

“Akirra is a special pitcher and any time a team has a pitcher, and you can play a little defense and we play great defense, you are going to be in the game,” he said.

Last year, when Hereford lost to Eastern Tech in the Baltimore County championship game, the Bulls had Erin Collins on the mound.

She is now playing at Rutgers University where she hit a grand slam in her first collegiate at bat and has two home runs.

In addition to batting .656 with eight home runs and 45 RBIs, Collins was 15-3 on the mound with a 1.10 earned run average and 181 strikeouts for the 2017 Bulls.

“Last year, they had the left-hander (Collins) and she was phenomenal and they won a lot of games,” Barwick said.

Hereford finished 15-5 and lost in the region finals just like Dulaney.

The Lions, who lost their first two games this season in close calls to Catonsville and Dulaney, have won four straight.

“Playing a couple games a week now and we are practicing every day and we are in a rhythm and I think we are set to make a run now,” said Barwick, who expects to go deep into the postseason again. “We should make it back there.”

Another reason he has confidence is the other half of the battery — sophomore catcher Izzy Hodiste.

“What a great catcher I’ve got, she has a great arm and the ball doesn’t get by her,” Barwick said.

He also praised four-year starting third baseman Eckhart, who will play at Salisbury University next season.

“She is a phenomenal third baseman,” Barwick said. “She is amazing.”

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