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Homers power Springfield Blue Devils

04/17/2014, 12:40am EDT
By DONALD EMMONS BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Maumee batters no match for Yates’ curve

Springfield's Hannah Girlie held a batting clinic during a Northern Lakes League matchup with Maumee on Wednesday afternoon.

The No. 3 hitter in Springfield's batting order initially showed plenty of patience at the plate before unveiling some impressive power to blast two home runs and lead the Blue Devils to an 8-0 victory over the Panthers.

Girlie went 2-for-2, including a three-run homer in the third and a solo shot that bounced off the left-field foul pole in the fifth to finish with four RBI. Her third and fourth homers of the season were sandwiched between walking in the first inning and in the sixth.

"After they walked me the first time, I knew they were going to give me minimal pitches to hit," Girlie said. "So, on the first one, I was just looking for that one pitch that was close and I wanted to just do something with it.

"The second one, I had two strikes on me, so I was just trying to battle until I got that one pitch."

Springfield (8-1, 3-0 NLL) rode Girlie's work at the plate and right-hander Lauren Yates' work inside the pitcher's circle.

"I think she's one of the best hitters in the state of Ohio, not just northwest Ohio," Springfield coach Rob Gwozdz said of Girlie. "She has patience. She'd been a little frustrated in the early part of the season because a lot of teams had been pitching around her.

"But when she gets that one pitch she has to make it count and she did it twice today."

Yates pitched a complete game three-hitter against the Panthers (5-5, 0-2). She struck out four and walked two during chilly conditions.

"I thought she did everything we asked of her today, she really focused and hit her spots," Gwozdz said of Yates.

The Blue Devils starter felt confident pitching against the Panthers practically right from the first pitch.

"I felt like I was in control and I like to dominate," Yates said. "I know I had really good defense behind me, so I just like to hit my spots and do my job."

Yates had given up only one hit through the first five innings when she seemed to have complete command of her pitches. 

Her curveball had the Panthers guessing.

"My curve is my best pitch and it really just hits the outside corner and it drops, so it's hard for people to get timed up on it," she said.

Maumee coach Shawn Watson recognized his team's troubles trying to hit Yates early in the contest. Janie Hudson, Emily Young, and Kayla Wulf each had a hit to account for Maumee's offense.

There's no serious fretting about the early season league loss on the road for the Panthers.

"I'm not actually too worried about it," Watson said, whose team has dropped five straight. "I think it's one of the best teams I've ever coached. We'll be all right."

Girlie hit her first home run of the day off Maumee starter Sam Fowls, who lasted just 2 2/​3 innings. Fowls gave up three runs, allowing one hit while walking five and fanning five. 

Evyn Kachenmeister relieved Fowls only to give up one run in the fourth, one in the fifth, and three in the sixth.

Lexi Buck drove in the run in the fourth for Springfield with a sacrifice fly and Brianna Espino had a run-scoring single in the sixth. The Blue Devils scored their other two runs in the sixth on wild pitches.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.


Springfield's Hannah Girlie hit two home runs against Maumee on Wednesday. THE BLADE/LORI KING

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