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Softball: Bloomingdale stays unbeaten with key district win

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Fri. February 28, 2014 | Steve Lee

LITHIA — Bloomingdale extended its season-opening unbeaten streak to seven Friday night with a 3-0 shutout of Newsome in a pivotal Class 8A, District 7 matchup.

Pitcher Lace Smith tossed a three-hitter. The junior right-hander, who earlier this week verbally committed to Buffalo, struck out 13 and walked two in seven innings.

“She’s a passionate player who’s working hard and she’s proven it every game,” said Bloomingdale first-year coach Mandy Schuerman. “In my opinion, she’s the best pitcher in the county.”

Newsome’s pitching was nearly as effective with starter Claire Feldman and reliever Cassidy Davis combining on a three-hitter with seven strikeouts. But six walks and two infield errors did not help the Wolves (5-2, 2-2).

Bloomingdale (7-0, 4-0) scored the only run it would need in the top of the third. Kayleigh Walters drew a leadoff walk and raced to third when shortstop Annie Tarte threw the ball into right-centerfield on Lizzie Jackson’s groundball. With runners at second and third and one out, Smith reached on a fielder’s choice when Tarte fielded her grounder and threw home too late to get Walters.

Two walks and a bunt single by Walters loaded the bases for Bloomingdale in the fourth with Mariah Blackmon scoring on Jackson’s sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead. Darby Bernaldo drove in the game’s final run with a two-out single in the seventh that scored Jackson, who led off that inning with a walk.

“We’re all about team ball,” said Schuerman, a former Bloomingdale assistant who last year coached at Florida International and previously played at Florida. “We don’t talk about batting averages. We’ve done it all season. We’ve stuck to the same approach. It’s team ball.”

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