TAMPA — Chamberlain changed the course of an uncharacteristically slow start Friday night with a decisive 5-2 win over host Sickles, its first of the season.
“We needed this; I needed this,” Chamberlain coach Bob Diez said. “We can play like this, but we haven’t played like this.”
The Chiefs, ranked nationally the past two seasons, combined for five runs in two losses to start the season. They nearly matched that with four in the second inning against Sickles. That outburst snapped a tie at 1 and proved to be too much for the Gryphons.
Stephanie Medina paced the Chamberlain offense, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. She drove in Bianca Bell, who led off with a single in the first. Medina’s two-run double followed run-scoring singles by Angela Kafalas and Kaitlynn Diaz.
“I’m here to help lead the team,” Medina said.
Chamberlain starter Amber Fullwood scattered six hits for the win and finished the game, shaking off a hard liner off the bat of Danielle Rowe that went for a 1-6-3 out in the third.
“The girl in the circle is what kept us in the game,” Diez said. “It started in the circle.”
Diez lauded his team’s all-around effort, saying Fullwood had plenty of help.
“They played well up and down the lineup,” he said. “Good defense, good timely hits.”
Sickles (4-2) wasted little time in bouncing back from a 1-0 deficit by scoring a run in the bottom of the first. Courtney Goff hit a one-out single, stole second and scored on Rowe’s single.
The Gryphons added a run in the fourth when Niki Hall singled and came around on a double by Mya Anderson.
Steve Lee, Times correspondent