Lady Bisons fall to Rizzo, Altoona|
Friday, May 11, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
HYDE - Altoona's Didi Rizzo tossed a six-hitter and hit a tie-breaking home run in the seventh inning to lead the Lady Lions to a 5-2 win over Clearfield, Thursday at the Bison Sports Complex.
Rizzo had trouble with her control early, uncorking five of her seven wild pitches in the second and third innings. But she settled down after the initial problems and allowed just two runs, one earned, on six hits. Rizzo walked three batters and struck out eight.
"We stood there and let her get ahead of us," Clearfield head coach Bob Dixon said. "You can't stand there and get in a hole and then expect to come up with a lot of hits. Once the pitcher is ahead of her, you're going to hit her pitch. You're not going to get your pitch. And that's how we hit all game long.
"The umpire was calling strikes outside. But we knew that after the first inning. Instead of the girls trying to go to right field with the pitch, they were swinging to hit the ball hard because it was slow. And we didn't hit the ball."
While Rizzo was baffling the Lady Bison hitters, she did the biggest amount of damage with her bat, driving an 0-1 pitch from Lady Bison Heather Picard over the center field fence in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie. Margot Berry and Madeline Berry scored on the Rizzo bomb, which came with two outs in the inning.
None of the runs were earned as a Lady Bison error prolonged the inning.
"I knew (Rizzo) was a good hitter," Dixon said. "We tried to stay away from her. I think what happened was Heather just got that pitch in a little too far.
"But we shouldn't even have gotten to her. And we shouldn't have been tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh."
Outside of the home run pitch, Picard tossed a magnificent game.
She scattered nine hits and did not walk a batter, while striking out nine Lady Lions. Only one of the five runs she surrendered was earned.
"She threw a real good game," Dixon said. "She threw an excellent game. Heather threw well enough to win. When you hold someone to two runs through six innings, you have to score more runs."
Altoona struck first, scoring an unearned run in the top of the first inning.
Rizzo, Amanda Parrish and Morgan James hit consecutive singles with two out. Jessica Harris, who was courtesy running for Rizzo, scored on an outfield error following the James base hit. Parrish was 3-for-4 with three singles in the contest.
Clearfield knotted the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second, thanks to a Becca Byerly two-out single.
Picard led off with a single, stole second base and moved to third on a Rizzo wild pitch.
But Rizzo struck out the next two Lady Bisons before Byerly delivered an infield single to plate Picard.
The Lady Bisons took the lead in the bottom of the third when Andrea Butler scored on an infield error by the Mountain Lions. It was Altoona's only fielding error of the contest.
Butler drew a five-pitch walk to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a Melinda Owens sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch got Butler to third base and she scored shortly thereafter on the error.
Both pitchers took over from there.
Picard allowed just two hits in innings two through five. Only one batter reached second in that span as Shania Feathers led off the fifth with a single and stole second base. But Picard struck out two batters and got a popup to get out of the inning.
Unfortunately for Picard and the Lady Bisons, Rizzo kept Clearfield's bats silent as well.
She gave up just two hits between the fourth and sixth innings and did not allow a runner past first base. And that gave her offense the time it needed to snatch the game away from the Lady Bisons.
Marshe Barnes hit a two-out double in the top of the sixth to plate Amanda Parrish, who had singled. That tied the game at 2-2.
Then Rizzo struck with her three-run shot in the seventh.
"We let them hang around and hang around," Dixon said. "We didn't score many runs, and we only had four hits going into the last inning. We let them hang around and they gained confidence, and it jumped up and bit us on the butt."
Clearfield scored a run in the bottom of the seventh as Megan Vanderburgh and Butler put together back-to-back singles.
Vanderburgh advanced to second on a wild pitch after her base hit and scored on Butler's base hit to left.
Butler moved to second on the throw home and advanced to third when Owens grounded out.
But Butler got thrown out at the plate to end the game when she tried to score when the ball got thrown around the infield by Altoona.
"The excitement of the moment and being aggressive on the base paths, which she always is, I can't fault her for that," Dixon said. "She's always aggressive on the base paths. And she came through with a big hit."
Clearfield dipped to 8-9 with the loss. Altoona upped its record to 3-13.
The Lady Bisons host Brookville on Monday.
Su. Feathers 3b 4000, Mad. Berry 2b 4110, Rizzo p 4223, Parrish ss 4130, James 1b 3010, Barnes c 3011, Kane lf 3000, Sh. Feathers rf 3010, Weaver cf 2000, Mar. Berry ph 1100. Totals: 31-5-9-4.
Butler ss 3111, Owens 2b 2010, Hoffman rf 3000, Bowman cf 3000, Picard p 3110, Kovalick c 3010, McBride lf 3000, Byerly 1b 1011, Ebeling ph 1000, Vanderburgh 3b 3110. Totals: 25-3-6-2.
Score by Innings
Altoona 100 001 3-5 9 1
Clearfield 011 000 1-3 6 2
Errors-James; McBride, Byerly. LOB-Altoona 5, Clearfield 5. DP-Altoona. 2B-Barnes. HR-Rizzo (2 on, 7th). SAC-Owens. SB-Sh. Feathers; Picard. WP-Rizzo 7.
Altoona: Rizzo-7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO.
Clearfield: Picard-7 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO.
WP-Rizzo. LP-Picard (3-6).