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Eagles return undefeated, ready for IMC’s best

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

April 5, 2006

When the Eagles’ varsity fastpitch team hosts Sandy High School this afternoon, the girls might look a bit different than they did at home a couple weeks ago. The team didn’t order new jerseys, buy matching shoes or coordinate similar hair cuts. They did, however, spend their spring break in Florida soaking up the southeast sunshine, playing ball and enjoying the many features of Disney World.

And after winning all four of their games during the trip, the girls might play a bit different too.

The goals of the trip were simple: have fun together on the field and have fun together off the field. And according to Coach Phil Hukari, who accompanied the girls, the trip was mission accomplished.

“I think it was a real positive experience for the girls,” he said. “Softball-wise, we learned a lot about each other and as a team. Off the field, it was a good bonding experience. Our older girls spent some time with the younger ones, and everyone had the chance to spend time together doing things other than softball.”

Time other than softball included activities like visiting MGM Disney and the Magic Kingdom, riding the famous Aerosmith Rollercoaster and visiting the Disney Animal Park.

On the field, the girls took on teams from New Jersey, Alabama, Ohio and Wisconsin on the Disney World fields. And in those four games, the Eagles outscored their opponents 32 runs to 1 to sweep their competition in three shut-outs and a 5-1 victory.

“We played two pretty good teams and two teams with little experience,” Hukari said. “Our pitching and defense was excellent. We had two errors in four games and allowed only one run so we were looking pretty good. Our league games are coming up fast so we have to get going. The main thing we’re trying to do now is get our offense geared up and confident at the plate. Right now it looks like we’re the team to beat in the league and we want to keep it that way.”

HRV vs. Pingry, N.J.

The Eagles’ 8-0 win against the Big Blue started in the first inning off a two-run homer by Megan Flem. Senior pitcher Stephanie Draper pitched the perfect game, striking out nine batters before it was over. Hot at bat were Brianne Rowley and Rochelle Friend, who had three hits each.

HRV vs. Auburn, Ala.

Chelsey Elliott picked up 14 strike-outs and allowed only four hits in the team’s 5-1 win over the girls from the south. Of the Eagles’ seven hits in the game, Elliott and Friend had two apiece, including a triple from Friend to start off the third inning.

HRV vs. Wisconsin Lutheran

In a game that would last only five innings and end with a 14-0 shutout, the Eagles blasted 14 hits, including a salt-in-the-wound grand-slam homerun by Rowley in the fifth. On the mound, Lindsey Smith got her first start of the season and her first shutout win.

HRV vs. Green, Ohio

Draper pitched her second shutout of the trip against the Bulldogs, while at bat the Eagles scored all of the game’s five runs in the first two innings. Elliott started out the streak for the girls with a double. Rowley knocked her in with a single for the early-game lead. In the second inning, Sarah Wood got on base and was advanced to second by a sacrifice bunt from Kate Blumenthal. The Eagles would then get two home runs, one from Elliott and one from Flem, to finish the inning with a five-run lead.

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