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Softball: Riddle right at home with Leopards

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Sat. March 12, 2011 | Derek J. LaRiviere

Softball: Riddle right at home with Leopards

BROOKSVILLE — For two years, Courtney Riddle put up dominant numbers as the ace at Hernando Christian. Some doubted whether those performances would continue on the mound when she came to Hernando.

Friday night she answered the call.

Riddle tossed a one-hit shutout to catapult the Leopards to a 10-0 victory over Nature Coast at Tom Varn Park.

The freshman hurler had already been solid early this season, improving her record to 4-1, but this was an eye-opener. She struck out three and didn’t walk a batter in five innings. The lone base hit she surrendered was an infield single to Nature Coast right fielder Brooke Sager to lead off the fourth inning.

“She was phenomenal,” Hernando coach Kevin Bittinger said of Riddle. “She hit her spots and had a lot of movement.”

In the first two innings, Riddle gained control of the plate by pitching inside, almost to a fault. She hit two batters, but to her credit she was unfazed.

“They were trying to make me pitch outside,” she said, “but I had to keep doing what I needed to do and trust my defense.”

Nature Coast (5-6) was shell-shocked when Hernando (6-4) put up a five-spot in the third inning. The bottom of the Leopards’ order was key to the attack all game.

The 7-8-9 hitters reached base every time up. Remi Manuel, Lauren Johnson and Whitney Sims went a combined 5-for-9 with six runs scored and three RBIs.

The loss was a major blow to the Sharks. The team, which started the season 5-2, is on a four-game slide.

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