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Defense comes through for Eagles

05/07/2014, 12:00am EDT
By MARK MONROE BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Eastwood maintains place atop NBC after downing Woodmore


Eastwood's Samantha Shirling winds up to deliver a pitch in the first inning on Tuesday. The Eagles defense turned two double plays against the Wildcats. THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH

PEMBERVILLE — Eastwood left fielder Marissa Tudor got it done with both her bat and glove on Tuesday as the Eagles turned in a fine defensive effort in a key Northern Buckeye Conference battle with Woodmore.

Tudor made a great running catch on a line shot that would have scored at least two runs to keep it scoreless in the third inning. Tudor drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh to lead Eastwood to a 1-0 win.

PHOTO GALLERY: Eastwood ekes out 1-0 win

“I knew I needed to do something because it was such a close game,” Tudor said. “[On the catch] I just had to go for it and not think too much. I knew if I dropped it they would get at least two in. We take pride in our defense.”

Eastwood starter Sam Shirling and Woodmore starter Madeline Phillips were equally stingy. Each ace gave up only four hits. Shirling struck out seven and Phillips fanned 10.

Eastwood catcher Anna Rahrigh had half of her team's hits and her long single off the top of the fence in the seventh led to the winning run.

The Eagles (18-1) turned two double plays and center fielder Caitlan Clay made a terrific catch in the fourth. Clay ended the game with consecutive good catches in the seventh.

“Tudor made a great catch. That was a huge play for us,” Eastwood coach Joe Wyant said. “Our center fielder made some nice plays out there. And Sam only walked one and had six strikeouts.”

The Eagles improved to 6-1 in the NBC to move a game in front of Elmwood (5-1). Woodmore (11-4, 6-3) committed three errors behind Phillips.

“With their offensive power, I thought Madeline did a fantastic job of limiting them,” Woodmore coach Aaron Clouse said. “She was moving it around and keeping them off balance.”

With a brisk wind gusting in from center, Rahrig had a home-run shot knocked down by the breeze in the seventh. But she moved Cassidy Rolf, who reached on an error, up to third. Rolf scored on Tudor's sac fly.

At one point Phillips struck out six Eastwood batters in a row. She stranded six runners. Phillips also had one of her team's hits. Natalie Davis had two singles and Kari Kruse also singled.

Rahrig doubled to the base of the fence in left to lead off the fourth for Eastwood. Phillips struck out two to get out of trouble. “She's an all-state pitcher and we know how good she is,” Wyant said.

Shirling got help from her defense with double plays to end the fourth and fifth innings.

Shirling ran into trouble in the third when she allowed two infield singles and then walked the bases loaded. Courtney Clowers smacked a liner to the gap in left that could have cleared the bases but Tudor tracked it down.

“Their defense was absolutely phenomenal,” Clouse said.

“The play [Tudor] made in left field are the kinds of plays that win you league championships.”

Eastwood suffered its first loss of the season to Elmwood last week. The teams meet again May 16.

“We still have that shot to win it all,” Wyant said.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.

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