Softball: Damascus takes early lead, hangs on to beat Blair -- Gazette.Net



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Some softball teams need to put a light hitter capable of little more than sacrificing in the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

Not Damascus.Some teams need to put a slow player at catcher in order to take advantage of the courtesy-runner rule.

Not Damascus.Some teams need to face a weak opponent to rebound from their first loss of the season.

Not Damascus.After falling to Sherwood on Friday, Damascus rebounded with a 5-2 win against visiting Blair on Tuesday. Both Damascus and Blair — which had each lost only to Sherwood entering the contest — already had established themselves as Montgomery County's second- and third-best teams behind the Warriors. Only the order was unclear.

“I think it helps a team to beat a team like this, because it shows that we can beat good teams,” said Damascus catcher Anna Warfield, who leads off for the Swarmin' Hornets (12-1). “If we lost to Sherwood and then beat some bad team, it could still hang in our minds that we're not that good. But I knew we were, and we came out and got a good win.”

Warfield's second-inning three-run home run gave Damascus a 5-0 lead, as the speedy sophomore slid into home plate, beating Blair's relay throw.

“Anna put out a terrific slide, and I think that's what got her in. She bailed me out,” said Damascus coach Steve Kachadorian. “I saw an opportunity. Anna has great speed, and I wanted to take the chance.”

Warfield also scored in the first inning, when No. 2 hitter Sydni Reinhold belted the ball into the left-center field gap for a triple.

“She's a good, strong hitter,” Kachadorian said. “She hits good, strong line drives, and she can also give them a ride. She's got some strength to her.”

Despite taking a ball off her knee in the sixth inning — which earned her a night off from the postgame cleanup routine — Rachael Liguori got the win. She allowed six hits, the same number Damascus had (albeit in one fewer inning).

That gave Blair coach Louie Hoelman peace of mind, especially considering Sam Schweickhardt, who took the loss, had one of the game's best-hit balls turn into an out. Damascus right fielder Kelsey D'ascoli's sprinting catch with two runners on base in the fifth inning robbed Schweickhardt of a hit and effectively limited the impact of Blair's two sixth-inning runs.

Hoelman looked at those tough breaks after the game and grinned.

“It's comforting,” Hoelman said. “You have to stay positive, and they played hard, and they played well, and they did not give up throughout the game. It is tough, but if you look at their at bats, and they had quality at-bats. They just didn't quite fall in.

“Not to take anything away from Damascus. They're a good team. They outplayed us. It was a great game.”

dfeldman@gazette.net