Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Robbinsville softball gets back to MCT final in 11

EWING - Although it had an anti-climactic ending, just call it one of the great games of the year in area high school softball.
In an 11-inning classic, defending-champion Robbinsville just got past Notre Dame, 3-2, in the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament at Armstrong Park on Wednesday night.
With the victory, the Ravens advanced to the title game Thursday night at 7 o'clock against Allentown, which won its semifinal over West Windsor North.
Notre Dame appeared in good shape when it took the lead in the top of the 11th when Maddie Schafer led off with an RBI single and advanced to third.
When a runner was safe on a fielders' choice, the Irish then had runners on first and third with no outs in their quest for the all important second run.

It didn't happen as ND hit into a line drive double play and Lauren Fischer got the third out with her 11th strikeout of the game.
In the bottom of the 11th, Robbinsville bunted the runner to third and tied it on a bloop single by freshman Hannah Olsheveski. From there, the Ravens won it when two Notre Dame pitchers combined to walk three straight batters and force in the winning run.
Earlier, ND started the 10th inning by moving the runner to third, but Fischer struck out the next two batters, including an epic 12-pitch at bat by Annie Marcopolus.
Notre Dame, which carried a 12-game winning streak into this game, had an opportunity in the seventh when a walk and bunt single by Marcopolus placed runners on first and second with no outs.
The key play to the Ravens turning back that challenge was throwing out a runner at third base on a bunt.
In a game with a very wide strike zone, Notre Dame took the early lead when it scored in the first inning. After Fischer walked lead-off hitter Marcopolus, who than advanced on a wild pitch, Sarah Coyne put down a sacrificed to advance the runner at third.
Maddie Schafer then hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Raven second baseman Christine Levering made a nice diving stop, but her only play was to first as Marcopolus scored.
Notre Dame freshman Julia Tosti, meanwhile, sailed through the first three innings by facing just 10 batters. She was also backed by some strong defense, including an alert play by Coyne at second to beat the runner to first.
As is so often the case with the defending state champions, Fischer got Robbinsville going in the bottom of the fourth by blasting a double in the right centerfield gap.
From there, Rebecca Freeman hit a line drive to left fielder Gabby Milo. Fischer got a late break from third, but was still able to beat the relay throw and slide under the tag on Freeman's sacrifice fly.
The outstanding defensive work for the Irish continued in the fifth inning when shortstop Lexi Chianese made a great diving catch up the middle. This came after Notre Dame nearly took the lead in the top of the inning on an error and sac. Fischer got out of that jam by getting Marcopolus to hit a liner to left.
Robbinsville also nearly took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Nicole Piet and Freeman singled. But Alyssa Giampolo, who came on relief in the fourth inning, was able to turn back the Ravens by striking out three batters in the inning.
Notre Dame 100 000 000 01 - 2
Robbinsville 000 100 000 02 - 3
WP-Fischer. LP-Giampolo. 2B-Fischer. RBIs: ND-Schafer 2. R-Olshevski, Wojton, Freeman.


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