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Blizzard frosts over Camden bats

Posted: March 13, 2014 2:32 p.m.
Updated: March 14, 2014 5:00 a.m.
C-I photo by Tom Didato/

ERIN BLIZZARD WORKED FIVE hitless innings in helping Lugoff-Elgin to a 10-0 win over Camden on Wednesday night.

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On an early evening which included  warm sun, followed by strong winds and then, swirling rains, Lugoff-Elgin threw a Blizzard into the Wednesday weather mix.
Snow was about the only thing which didn’t hit the Camden softball field but Erin Blizzard did and the L-E junior right-hander did not surrender a hit in five innings of work as the Lady Demons used a one-hitter to thump host Camden, 10-0.
Blizzard, the author of a perfect game a season ago, has picked up where she left off this year. Her Wednesday gem came after pitching the Lady Demons to an 8-1 win over Sumter on Tuesday. On this night, however, Blizzard did not allow a ball to leave the infield as she fanned six before giving way to freshman Baleigh Lunsford who worked the final two scoreless frames.
The scary part about Blizzard is that she is still tweaking things and is looking for ways to get better. After walking three batters on Wednesday, L-E head coach James Marlow said Blizzard is continuing to develop as a pitcher.
“Erin and I had a long conversation today about pitch sequence,” Marlow said. “We want her to throw the drop curve a little bit more, especially with runners not on base. She’s really working hard on throwing outside a little more, working on her change-up and working on a strategy or an ‘out’ pitch for the first time through the order and then, finding what’s going to help us out the third time they see her.
“We’re really working on different pitch sequences to make sure that we’re not too predictable. We’d really like to see her challenge these girls with her fastball up in the zone when we have two strikes instead of using that waste pitch which people talk about. Sometimes, we’d not want to use a waste pitch and come right at the batter.”
The shutout came one night after Camden opened its regular and Region 4-AAA season with a 22-1 thrashing of A.C. Flora. This time around, however, hits were not as plentiful for Lynn Looney’s squad. The Lady Bulldog boss said Blizzard had plenty to do with her team’s offensive troubles.
“We had a tough time with (Blizzard) today and we didn’t handle it well,” Looney said. “It was hard. We came back and fought hard for four or five innings and, I thought we were going to come back. But we just couldn’t hit her.”
The Lady Demon offense gave Blizzard all the run support she would need in reaching CHS righty Kennedy Stokes for three runs in the top of the first inning.
Stephanie Holland got the visitors going with an unplayable leadoff grounder. After swiping second, she advanced to third on Delaney Guerrero’s liner along the left field line to put runners on the corners before Guerrero stole second. Lunsford plated the eventual winning run with an infield single before Kenyatta Anderson’s two-out, two-run Texas League single, just beyond the reach of CHS second baseman Madison Woody, made it a 3-0 lead.
That cushion, Marlow said, had the Lady Demons feeling good about things.
“Anytime that we have the opportunity to get up early,” he said, “it frees the pitcher up to go after the batters a little more.”
Camden’s only scoring chance against Blizzard came in the second which opened when Victoria Reyes, who collected Camden’s lone hit to lead off the bottom of the seventh,  worked her way to a walk before being thrown out at second on catcher Michaelan Barngrover fielders’ choice. A Kristin Carter walk put runners on first and second with two outs, but Blizzard got out it this one with a called third strike.
After having surrendered three in the first, Stokes settled down for the next three frames, facing the minimum nine batters in that span.
“Kennedy did a great job,” Looney said. “She pitched a gem last night at A.C. Flora and did a great job tonight. Michaelan (Barngrover) called the entire game tonight and, I thought she called a really good game. Lugoff-Elgin just hit the ball well.”The roof caved in on the Lady Dogs in the top of the sixth as L-E sent nine batters to the plate while scoring six times to up the ante to nine runs.
Dallas Guerrero led off with an infield single before Holland walked. Delaney Guerrero’s bunt single then loaded the bags with no outs. With one gone, Lunsford’s Texas Leaguer to right drove in Dallas Guerrero while Holland scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0. A Hannah Cole Texas Leaguer brought in the sixth run while runs seven and eight came courtesy of Anderson’s double to the gap in right center.  Anderson made it 9-0 when she scored from third on a ground out by pinch-hitter Taylor Mullins to make it 9-0.
The Lady Demons tacked on a 10th run in the seventh as Taylor Rawl reached on an error, stole second and came around from there on Lunsford’s single to shallow right.
L-E collected nine hits on the evening with Delaney Guerrero, Lunsford and Anderson getting two each with Anderson driving in four runs while Lunsford had a pair of RBI.
“All of our girls are putting the bat on the ball well,” Marlow said after a night in which some of the Lady Demons’ hardest hit balls were caught. “We are having good, disciplined at bats and trying to put the ball on the ground and generate runs.
“We’re proud of our girls who are making adjustments in the (batting) cage which are transferring over to the ballpark.”
Camden’s lone hit came from Reyes while the hostesses also received a strong defensive effort from centerfielder Kristin Carter, who tracked down all four line drives which came her way.
“We’re not where we want to be at the plate, right now,” Looney said after the loss. “We didn’t play smart there today. I thought that fielding, we played very well.
“This will be a big help for us though,” Looney said of playing a team like L-E and a pitcher like Blizzard.
“Anytime we can play really good competition like Lugoff-Elgin, it can’t do anything but help make us better.”

L-E rips Sumter: Blizzard had little trouble is silencing the Sumter bats as the Lady Demons opened their 2014 regular season with an 8-1 home win on Tuesday night.
Blizzard fanned five Lady Gamecock batters en route to the one-sided victory.
L-E received a trio of two-hit performances at the plate. Senior Hannah Cole went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI while Dallas Guerrero went 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of RBI. Freshman Sophie Holland was the third Lady Demon to go 2-for-3 as she had a double while plating a run.



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