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Softball: Chamberlain starts slow, puts away Riverview

TAMPA — Chamberlain was teetering on the line of the unbeatens. This was a bad night to teeter.

Riverview's dugout was full of hunger and youth worthy of knocking the Chiefs from their perch.

This experienced Chamberlain lineup loaded with girls signed to a grab bag of Division I powerhouse programs ultimately set the Sharks straight.

It was a lot closer than Chamberlain's 7-1 win.

With two outs in the sixth inning Friday, Chamberlain senior Samantha Holle fired a sharp grounder down the first-base line and into leftfield. The ball went deep enough to allow freshman Ellen Scott to score the winning run from second, giving Chamberlain its first lead at 2-1.

Two batters later, Chamberlain junior Kasie Hatfield crushed a pitch to straightaway centerfield for a three-run home run and six-run cushion.

That was plenty of firepower to make amends for the three errors that put the Chiefs in a pickle.

"There's no way a fastball outside does that," Riverview coach Angela Slater said of the home run. "It split the plate right there with a sign that said 'Hit me!' on it. You can't make those kind of mistakes."

Riverview didn't make it easy early, seizing a 1-0 lead in the first. Sharks leadoff batter Briana Bell reached on an error. After advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt then stealing third, Bell advanced home after a pickoff attempt flew into leftfield.

Chamberlain (12-0) tied it in the bottom of the first. Hatfield reached on a double then stole third, finally scoring on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1.

The Sharks (8-5) had runners in scoring position in the third and fifth innings, but stranded five for the game. Chamberlain left only one runner on base. Chiefs pitcher Alexandra Hart­shorn went the distance with five strikeouts, two hits and no earned runs.

The Chiefs expect the season to heat up with key games next week and a pair of out-of-town tournaments followed by the playoffs.

"We didn't play our best but we expected to win," Chiefs coach Bobby Diez said. "We want to make teams beat us, and when we do that we like our chances."

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Softball: Chamberlain starts slow, puts away Riverview 03/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009 11:33pm]

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