Indians stake claim for first

DALE CITY — In its first game back from taking third place at the Grand Strand tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Gar-Field staked its claim for first place back home, pounding out 15 hits in a 12-1 win over Osbourn Park in a battle of the top two teams in the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger preseason rankings.

The Indians, who went 4-1 while out of state, surged to a 4-1 lead after the second inning Tuesday and broke the game open with a five-run, two-out rally in the fourth.

“They came out here in midseason form,” said Osbourn Park head coach Willie Lemay, whose team was ranked second to start the year. “We came out here looking like we just came out [for practice].”

“We hit well down in Myrtle Beach,” said Gar-Field ace Kelly Brown, who struck out 10 in seven innings. “We knew coming into this game that we had to be aggressive.”

Gar-Field (5-1) came out swinging from Yellow Jacket starter Mickey McAllister’s first pitch, but they did the most damage with two outs in the fourth, chasing McAllister from the pitcher’s circle after the inning and turning what could have been a pitchers’ duel into a hitting clinic.

Brown grounded out and Sarah Malene struck out to start the bottom of the fourth. Ebony Cowan, who reached base four times on Tuesday, singled to center field. Julia McChain (2 for 3, 2 RBI) followed with a line drive to left, and Sam Posey brought a run home with another single to left.

Rebecca Horesky reached on an error, and then Katy Foster put Gar-Field up 7-1 with a double to center field. Amanda Webber followed with a two-run single to left-center to make it 9-1.

By game’s end, nine Gar-Field batters had at least one hit and six drove in a run or more.

Gar-Field coach Mike McDonald and Brown both said that the bottom of the order sparked the offense. Foster, Webber and Deborah Allen, the batters in the seven, eight and nine slots, combined for four hits and six RBI.

“A lot of credit I give to the bottom part of the lineup,” Brown said. “They were aggressive with the bat… and we didn’t let down after scoring a couple of runs.”

Top-ranked Gar-Field had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning when McChain’s fly ball fell into right-center field, allowing Cowan to score from first.

The Indians added three more runs in the second when the bottom of the order came to bat. Horesky led off the inning with a single that floated just past the second baseman. Foster’s grounder scooted past the shortstop, and then Webber and Allen each brought a run home with fielder’s choice bunts. Cowan knocked in Brown on a base hit to right field later in the inning.

The Yellow Jackets scored their lone run when leadoff hitter Tamara Poles singled to start the third. Poles scored from first when Gar-Field overthrew a ball attempting to get Laura Davis out at first on an infield grounder. Osbourn Park loaded the bases in the sixth, but Brown got two strikeouts and a grounder to end the threat.

The Yellow Jackets played six of last season’s starters on Tuesday, but Lemay said his entire squad simply wasn’t very sharp.

“We were not ready,” said Lemay. “That’s a coaching problem, not a player problem… We should be a lot better than we are.”

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