TAMPA — Following a pivotal district game in which his club was short on offense and mental focus, veteran Chamberlain coach Bob Diez was short on tact.
Diez insists the Chiefs' record (10-0, 8-0 Class 5A, District 9) is the only thing unblemished about them today, as evidenced by Tuesday's 2-1 triumph against Sickles (13-5, 6-2).
Sophomore pitcher Rachel Dwyer sealed things, forcing Gryphons No. 3 hitter Megin Eskew to ground out to third with two out and two on in the seventh. But other than Dwyer escaping a tight jam or two? Well, Diez had to dig for positives.
"We've got a decent record, but I'm going to tell you, we've stolen games," Diez said. "Now we played pretty good defense and my pitcher keeps us in the game and stuff … but what did we get? One hit? Two hits?"
Actually, it was five, coming against Gryphons lefty Nichole "Noodle" Lewis. Fortunately for Diez, Dwyer (five hits, four strikeouts, four walks) was equally effective.
With two out and the bases loaded in the third, Dwyer fanned cleanup hitter Mya Anderson, who entered with a .509 average and was coming off a six-RBI game Friday against Freedom. Sickles would put a runner on second in the fifth and sixth, but came away empty both times.
"That was a great job by Rachel to get out of that (third inning), and I think that kind of calmed (us) down a little bit," Diez said. "But we just let them stay in the game, so they get second and third winds."
The Gryphons' final, furious gasp arrived in the top of the seventh, just after Chamberlain added an insurance run the previous inning on Jennie Cook's single that scored courtesy runner Andrea Aaron.
Freshman Giselle Anderson — Mya's younger sister — singled, and No. 9 hitter Kaitlyn Ficarrotta followed with a one-out infield hit two batters later. After Brittany Johnson's single loaded the bases, Chelsey Armstrong hit an RBI-grounder to second before Dwyer retired Eskew to end things.
"We had our moments, we started figuring things out late in the game," said Gryphons coach Phil Giarrizzo, whose club stranded eight baserunners. "We had runners a lot of times in key positions and they were able to get out of it."