No. 3 Lions capitalize early to move to 9-0; Eckhart homers (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE!!)
Dulaney High softball team didn’t play its best game Thursday against No. 5 John Carroll School. But the third-ranked Lions made just enough plays to claim a 5-4 non-league decision in Bel Air.
The Baltimore County school ran its record to a perfect 9-0 this spring behind Akirra Pullen, who allowed three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out two. The junior right-hander walked two and struck out two while gaining the win.
Her counterpart, sophomore Emma Kropkowski, was charged with just two earned runs on eight hits. She fanned nine Lions, hit a batter and walked another.
“Emma has a year under her belt now, and that’s been the biggest difference for us this year,” said John Carroll coach Sherry Hudson, whose upstart Patriots (6-2) have already surpassed last year’s win total. “She feels comfortable throwing a lot of different pitches now.”
Still, the sophomore standout ran into some bad luck — and timely Dulaney hitting — in the opening frame when a pair of infield errors gave the Lions extra outs.
Dulaney took advantage of the miscues. After Pullen doubled home a run, one run scored on the second error of the inning and two more runners came around on a clutch single by left fielder Sara Comaromi to give the Lions a 4-0 lead.
They gave a run back in the bottom of the inning when freshman center fielder Emma Ritter, who singled with two outs, scored on an error. Dulaney pushed its lead to 5-1 in the third when junior third baseman Hope Eckhart smacked a home run to deep center.
“I was just trying to drive anything over the plate,” Eckhart said, noting the odd angle of part of the outfield fence. “It’s so hard to judge (the fence) that I wasn’t sure if it was out.”
Ritter, who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs to give her a whopping 24 for the season, walloped her sixth home run of the spring in the fourth inning after a single by sophomore third baseman Sarah Spaeth started the rally to make it 5-3. It would have been worse for the Lions if sophomore shortstop Allison Dasch hadn’t robbed Kropkowski’s bid for a single up the middle to start the inning on a sparkling play.
The Patriots, however, weren’t done. Senior catcher Erica James doubled inside the bag at third to keep the uprising alive before Pullen retired freshman shortstop Jules Donnelly on a pop up.
Senior first baseman Sara Dieter scored James with a single and took second on the throw home. Puller then induced a grounder to second by junior left fielder Sara Dieter to end the threat.
“We didn’t count on making three errors,” said Dulaney coach David Barwick. “We’re usually a better fielding team than that.”
Eckhart said that, despite some faulty fielding, the Lions came through.
“One of the strongest things we have is our defense,” she said. “And even though we made a couple of errors, we made key plays when we had to.”
No. 3 Dulaney 5, No. 5 John Carroll School 4
Dulaney 401 000 0 - 5 7 3
Akirra Pullen and Isabelle Hodiste; Emma Kropkowski and Erica James
HR: Dulaney - Hope Eckhart; John Carroll - Emma Ritter
Last Updated (Friday, 14 April 2017 11:00)