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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL Canfield rallies to defeat Mooney in eight innings



Published: Sat, April 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Bryanne Halfhill drove in the winning run as Canfield improved to 14-1.

CANFIELD -- It's a good thing for the Canfield High softball team that Bryanne Halfhill can hit better than she can bunt.

With one out and runners on second and third in the eighth inning of a tie game against Cardinal Mooney, Halfhill failed to connect on a one-strike bunt attempt.

But given a second chance to put the bat on the ball, the freshman delivered. Halfhill drove a fly ball to deep left field, enabling Kerri Haurin to tag at third and score the go-ahead run.

Mooney's final chance fails

Mooney's Mara Palombaro led off the bottom of the eighth with a double but was stranded on base as Canfield prevailed, 2-1, in a non-conference game Friday night.

"I was nervous after missing that bunt," said Halfhill. "But I guess it was a good thing I missed. If it wasn't for my teammates getting on base, then I wouldn't have been able to help us score.

"We have a lot of young players on this team, but the seniors are being good leaders and we're playing as a team. I think we can go really far this season, if we keep believing we can win."

Both teams entered the contest playing their best ball of the season. Mooney had won 12 of its last 13 games, while Canfield was riding a 13-game winning streak.

Hasn't lost since opener

Canfield (14-1), ranked No. 4 in Division I, hasn't lost since its first game of the season March 28 at a tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"We are loaded with young girls and talent," said Canfield coach Fred Mayhew. "We expected a tough game against Mooney because they are always prepared. We just try to stress the fundamentals and believe in ourselves."

Mooney (13-5) carries that same confidence and gained even more after holding its own against one of the top teams in Ohio. Mooney outhit Canfield 7-5 and had no problems making solid contact.

Mooney had plenty of chances to break the game open, but couldn't produce the big hit at the right time.

The best opportunity came in the fourth inning with bases loaded and one out. After singles by Gina Brunetti and Laura Guyer, Mimi Vitello walked to load the bases.

Pitches out of trouble

But Canfield pitcher Trisha Bettura, who came on in relief, got out of the inning with a strikeout and a groundout to preserve the 1-1 tie.

"That was the key moment of the game," said Mooney coach Mark Reinhart.

"We had just tied it the inning before and we couldn't get that extra run with bases loaded.

"We hit the ball hard and did pretty much everything right, but we just came up one timely hit short of winning. We expected to come here and win tonight, but we came up just short."

Halfhill led Canfield with a single and the game-winning RBI. Jena Ervin tallied a single and an RBI on a fielder's choice, and Courtney Porter added a double.

Mooney was paced by DiAndra DiBacco's RBI double and a triple. Palombaro connected for a double and a single.




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