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Lady Demons shut down Camden, 3-0

Posted: April 24, 2014 2:45 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Protecting the perimeter has been a credo for armies through the ages. And if that strategy is good enough to prevent enemy invasions, it is good enough for a softball team.
Trying to prevent Lugoff-Elgin from collecting extra base hits, the Camden defense played closer to the fences at Lady Demon Field on Wednesday. While the hostesses still came away with a 3-0 Senior Night win, it was hardly the 10-0 debacle which it was when these two rivals met more than a month ago in Camden.
James Marlow, whose team improved to 18-3 with the non-region victory, said the change in Camden’s defensive philosophy helped keep his team’s offense at bay.
“You have to give (CHS head coach) Lynn Looney credit for getting her team prepared over the course of the season and doing so well in region play,” Marlow said. “They came in here tonight and had a great set-up for us. She played her defense back, knowing that we were going to be swinging hard.
“They played for balls being hit deep and they had their outfielders almost up against the fence.”
While CHS tried to take the deep ball away from them, the Lady Demons still managed to come up with four doubles in the game; three of which came in the decisive two-run bottom of the third. That would be more than enough run support for L-E junior Erin Blizzard who shut Camden down on three hits while recording 14 strikeouts along the way.
Wednesday’s game was a pre-state tourney tune-up for both sides. L-E, the runner-up in Region 4-4A, will host a first round state tourney contest next Thursday. Camden will finish third in Region 4-AAA and will be on the road for its postseason opener next Friday.
Facing a pitcher the caliber of Blizzard and a team like L-E, combined with Friday’s game at 4-AAA champion Chapin, said Looney, will only help her team prepare for state tourney play.
“Tonight and Friday will help us, a lot,” Looney said. “We’ll see a lot of these same type of players (in the playoffs) so these games are really going to help us.”
Playing closer to the fence paid immediate dividends for the visitors as Sophie Holland led off the bottom of the first with a double off CHS starter Victoria Reyes. Delaney Guerrero’s then smacked a drive to deep left was grabbed by Maddison Flowers whose throw to Madison Woody doubled up Holland at second base.
An inning later, Camden turned into another double play on a liner to Woody at second base who flipped the ball to Quasha Jefferson at first.
Early on, Looney said, Camden’s defensive ploy paid dividends.
“They hit the ball well and we made some really good plays on defense tonight,” she said. “We may have missed a couple which we should have had, too, but we made several good plays. Defensively, I thought we played very well.”
Camden’s problems came on offense against the hard-throwing Blizzard who allowed a secong inning double to Michaelan Barngrover and a fourth inning single to  Reyes, but neither runners advanced beyond second. The Lady Bulldogs’ lone scoring threat came in the seventh when Barngrover sent a two-out single to right field, took second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball third strike to put runners on the corners. Blizzard never flinched in getting the final batter to go down swinging to preserve her shutout.
After the two double play liners in the first two frames, L-E found space and success in the third inning.
With one gone, Dallas Guerrero hit a low liner down the third base line which she turned into a double by hustling into second. She then swiped third. Guerrero scored on Holland’s sacrifice fly to center for the game’s first run. Delaney Guerrero then came through with a double which clanged off the fence in left center. She scored when Taylor Rawl smacked a two-bagger off the fence in left to give Blizzard a two-run cushion.
In spite of his team’s hitting the ball hard, Marlow was not happy with his the Lady Demons’ 13 fly ball outs.
“That was the great thing about Lynn setting her defense up the way she did,” he said. “They played for balls being hit deep and she had her outfield almost up against the fence. Our girls tried to hit it hard, but they didn’t do what they were supposed to; we need to hit the ball on the ground.”
L-E scored an unearned run off Reyes in the seventh when Hannah Cole reached on a two-out, two-base error before closing the scoring by coming in on a Taylor Mullins single.
“We still didn’t hit like we wanted to tonight,” Looney said of her team, “but I’m proud of the way they played. Vic (Reyes) pitched a great game. She came out and as a senior playing her last game against L-E, she wanted it. I think that showed in the way she pitched.”
L-E collected eight hits in a game in which it did not strike out. Marlow said the objective now is to tweak some little things which need to be worked on before the playoffs.
“It’s difficult to sustain a high level of productivity, especially after spring break,” he said. “Our defense has not quite been what it had been and we’re not hitting and scoring runs like we were. We just have to keep encouraging the girls; one game at a time, one day at a time. We have to come up with something to motivate them, a question for them to answer with their athletic ability each game to challenge them.”

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