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Pitching paces FireStix to victory

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

After a sluggish first inning, the Tampa Bay FireStix rode eight hits and errorless defense to defeat the Durham Dragons 5-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday night.

Winning pitcher Heather Compton (7-9) had an impressive game after the first inning to help first-place Tampa Bay maintain a 2{-game lead in the Women's Pro Softball League.

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."

"I had been struggling early in the season, but tonight I really felt good," Compton said. "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.