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Lafayette's Bruce holds off New Kent
Lafayette's Bruce outduels New Kent
By Norm Wood | firstname.lastname@example.org
WILLIAMSBURG -- As soon as Lafayette coach Tom Bunn uttered two frightening words before Tuesday's softball game against New Kent, Rams pitcher Katie Bruce knew what she had to do.
Be a hero. Help her teammates avoid the dreaded "conditioning day." That's the kind of practice Bunn promised if Lafayette couldn't beat New Kent.
Bruce made sure there would be no more mention of wind sprints, stretching drills and endless cardiovascular exercises for a while by shutting down New Kent in style. She threw a one-hitter to lead Lafayette to a 2-1 victory.
Of course, Lafayette (8-5, 7-4 Bay Rivers District) still isn't sure what to make of this conditioning day stuff. Bruce has turned the threat away twice this season.
"He's used (the conditioning day reference) twice," Bruce said. "He used it before we played Grafton, and we won that game (3-1 on April 12), too. So, we don't exactly know what 'a conditioning day' is yet."
Lafayette jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Jessica Carroll scored from third on a wild pitch by New Kent's Becca Mills (8-3). Carroll had reached base on a walk. She advanced to second on a single by Sarah Harms, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jessica Vinson.
Bruce (8-4) gave up a single to Tyler Fleming to lead off the game. She shut down New Kent the rest of the way, striking out seven and walking none.
"If you want to be taken seriously in the Bay Rivers District, you need to beat New Kent," Bunn said. "It's a big time win. Being 7-4 (in the district) is a lot different than being 6-5. It just gives us a little more confidence."
The Trojans (8-3, 8-3) managed to get one more runner on base in the fourth inning when Anush Mooradian reached third on an error by right fielder Katie Kosloski, who was forced to stare into the sun and misplayed a fly ball off her glove. Mooradian scored on a groundout by Laura Bauer to tie the game at one.
Lafayette reclaimed the lead for good in the fifth inning when Megan Lynch scored on a one-out RBI single by Jenny Carroll to take a 2-1 advantage. Lynch had the only extra-base hit when she led off the fourth inning with a double that landed over the head of right fielder Maria Bates, who also struggled with the sunlight.
Bruce stayed in command by utilizing outstanding control to nibble at the corners of the plate. She worked the entire strike zone, using her rise ball to get ahead of hitters and keeping the ball low at other times to induce groundouts. She recorded 18 of 21 outs via strikeouts or groundouts.
"It was just the rise ball," Fleming said. "It's better than anybody else's in the district I've played against."
LAFAYETTE 2, NEW KENT 1
New Kent 000 100 0 - 1 1 0
Lafayette 010 010 x - 2 8 1
WP - Bruce (8-4). LP - Mills (8-3). Standouts - New Kent, Mills (pitched complete game, gave up two earned runs, struck out seven, walked one); Lafayette, Lynch 2-3 (double, one run), Bruce 2-3 (pitched complete game one-hitter, gave up one unearned run, struck out seven, walked none), Harms 2-3. Records - New Kent 8-3, 8-3; Lafayette 8-5, 7-4. «
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