Land O' Lakes Ease Past AHN
TAMPA - There were plenty of smiles Tuesday night from the Land O' Lakes side of the softball diamond. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Land O' Lakes second baseman Tara Marshall walked to the pitcher's circle, whispered something to Gators' ace, Michelle Bradley, leaving Bradley laughing. Two innings later, Land O' Lakes coach Jamie Martin sent hitter Jessica Figueredo to the plate grinning. That relaxed play helped guide the Gators to a 6-0 victory at Academy of the Holy Names' Schifino Softball Field."We're loosening up a little bit," Martin said. "We're not really kicking on all cylinders yet and I talked to the girls about that. They're a good bunch of girls. They know how to joke around and get serious when they have to." The squad's serious nature kicked in almost immediately. Bradley, the third batter in the lineup, singled to shallow right field and was driven in on a double by Cristina Rosario, the ensuing batter. The fifth batter, Jessica Austin, single to right centerfield, scoring Rosario from second base for the 2-0 advantage. In the fifth inning, Kasey Murray's double scored pinch runner Lauryn Turcotte, to go ahead, 3-0. Meghan Sfraga knocked a single up the middle of the defense, scoring Murray. The Jaguars (8-9) didn't have a lot of luck in the field or at the plate. Defensively, AHN collected four errors, while offensively, they had five hits. The lack of run support was a stark contrast in the previous two contests. The jaguars beat East Bay, 12-0, and Durant, 8-0, during last weekend's Spring Fling softball tournament in Brandon. "Defense wins ballgames," Holy Names coach Don Barron said. "You have to give your pitcher some breathing room. [Land O' Lakes is] a solid team, but we had a lot of momentum going into this game." AHN nearly pushed a handful of runs across in the bottom of the fifth inning. Amanda Valdes opened the inning being hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Sara Drummond's two-out single put runners at first and second. The next batter, pitcher Lindsey Krenn walked. Bradley got out of the jam by collecting one of her 10 strikeouts. For the night Academy of the Holy Names stranded 11 base runners, while Land O' Lakes left four on the pads.
Reporter Eddie Daniels can be reached at (813) 948-4214.