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Prep Softball: Blue Devils climb closer to title

BY JUSTIN RICE

The opportunities for Culpeper’s softball team to be caught in the Battlefield District race continue to diminish.

Two games to go and a one-game lead has the Devils thinking district title.

“We’re so close, I can taste it,” Blue Devils shortstop Casey Mocarski said on Thursday. “I know the whole team can. It’s a great feeling. I’ve never been this close to a championship ever in my life.”

On Thursday, the Devils cleared one more hurdle, using a four-run first inning to beat Spotsylvania, 6–3. The victory means that only Chancellor (9–2 in the district) could catch Culpeper (11–1 in district) before the season ends next week.

The Blue Devils have games against Caroline and Eastern View remaining. Chancellor plays Eastern View tonight, and James Monroe and Spotsylvania next week.

The Knights—who along with Caroline seem very likely to finish in the district’s top four and advance to the postseason—entered Thursday’s game with an outside shot to climb back into the race for first and an automatic Region I quarterfinal berth.

That chance evaporated, though, with a rough first inning.

The Devils had just two hits in the frame—a single by Kara Cuccherini and a run-scoring hit to left field by Mocarski—but an error, a walk, a run-scoring ground out, and a sacrifice fly by Ellen Mulholland staked Culpeper to 4–0 lead.

“That’s always our goal, to jump on them as fast as we can, especially when we’re on the road,” Mocarski said. “We want to get as many as we can in the first inning, and then finish really strong.”

Spotsylvania pitcher Jen Bonalewicz was effective after the first.

She retired 12 straight batters during one stretch, and didn’t allow a baserunner again until the fifth. Culpeper added two other runs in the seventh.

The Knights weren’t able to capitalize on some juicy opportunities.

They had runners on first and second in the first inning and didn’t score. Their first two batters reached in the fourth, but a caught line drive that turned into a double play snuffed out that momentum. And three batters reached in the fifth, but only one reached home.

Casey Shaeffer had a two-run double for Spotsylvania in the third, and drove in another run with a ground out in the fifth.

“We seem to always start down,” Knights shortstop Allyson Sharpe said “We usually come back. Tonight just wasn’t our night.

“We’re working as a team. We’ve always been strong. We always have a good head. We’ll come out in the end.”

    R H E

    Culpeper 4000 002 6 5 1

    Spotsylvania 0020 100 3 6 3

    MIRANDA CROPP and Colby Mocarski. JEN BONALEWICZ and Casey Shaeffer.

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045

jrice@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/05/10/prep-softball-blue-devils-climb-closer-to-title/

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