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FireStix manage split to stay in first place

First-place Tampa Bay maintains lead with 5-1 victory over Durham.

Tampa Bay split a doubleheader with the Durham Dragons on Saturday night, winning the first game 5-1 then dropping the second 2-1. The first-place FireStix are 1{ games in front of Virginia in the Women's Pro Softball League.

In the opener, Heather Compton (7-9) had an impressive game after the first inning to record the victory.

After giving up three hits and a run in the first inning, Compton shut down the Dragons for the balance of the game.

Marty Laudato hit her seventh home run of the season in the fourth, a two-run shot bringing home Nancy Evans..

"We needed Heather to come out and give that kind of performance tonight," FireStix coach Linda Derk said. "For her to do the great job she did tonight was a big boost for the team. At this point in the season it is very important for people to step up and do what she did. The team got behind her right away."

Said Compton: "I had been struggling early in the season, but tonight I really felt good. I am going to simply focus on what's ahead and forget the early season. This team wants to win this thing and everyone is focusing on each game."

With one out in the first, Durham's Keri LeMasters singled and moved to second on a hit by Patti Raduenz. LeMasters scored on a single by Jen Smith.

Jodi Chmielewski put the FireStix on top in the second with a two-run double to left.

Diedre Shores and Pat Dufficy scored on the hit. Shores had walked and Dufficy singled.

Tampa Bay went up 3-1 in the third with a Shores single to right that brought home Michelle Hubler from second.

In the second game, Michelle Hawkins (10-10) recorded the win for Durham. The Dragons trailed 1-0 until the top of the sixth when Sherri Pla hit a two-run homer to put Durham in front to stay. The FireStix scored on a second-inning home run by Hubler.