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Lady Rams Come From Behind to Best Lady Blues

Bluefield, Va. -- A ground ball that eluded Felicia Marmo at third base enabled Bluefield State to take a 5-1 lead on Bluefield in the opening game of a doubleheader on Friday.

March 20, 2009

By BRIAN WOODSON

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

 

Bluefield, Va. -- A ground ball that eluded Felicia Marmo at third base enabled Bluefield State to take a 5-1 lead on Bluefield in the opening game of a doubleheader on Friday.

 

Marmo made up for that in a big way. The entire team did, as the Lady Rams scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat the Lady Blues 6-5 on a sunny afternoon at Graham Recreation Park.

 

Despite being down and nearly out, Marmo said the Rams never gave up.

 

“We just play each inning at a time,” Marmo said. “We were determined to keep our heads up and keep going with each play and each inning.”

 

Consecutive home runs by Whitney Newberry and Marmo, followed by a Courtney Upham single, an error, a passed ball, and a pair of bases-loaded walks helped the Rams rally past the Blues.

 

“We gave them the game, that’s the best way you can it, and you can quote that in big caps in the paper, we gave them the game,” Bluefield State coach Tyler Pruett said. “In our opinion, we were the better team and we just gave it to them.”

 

Bluefield State (1-13) rebounded in the second game of the twinbill, earning the season’s first win with a 9-1 win over the Rams (2-6). That had to be a welcome sight after the disappointment of the earlier loss.

 

“They were upset, we’ve battled this whole season,” Pruett said. “We all had been expectations coming in thinking we’re going to win a lot and it hasn’t happened yet and we were there.

 

“We had the taste in our mouth and it was taken away from us.”

 

Trailing 5-1 in the opener going into their final at-bat, Bluefield collected four of its eight hits off Maggie Donaldson, including a leadoff single by Alyssa Weddle, followed by a two-run blast by Newberry.

 

Marmo followed with a solo shot of her own to cut the lead to 5-4.

 

“It was felt great, it was a little intimidating going up there after Whitney hit the home run, but it felt good,” Marmo said. “I didn’t even feel it come off the bat, that’s how good it was.”

 

Donaldson fanned Lyndsey Barton, but she reached on a passed ball. Upham singled and Kaitlin Maginnis walked. One out later, Donaldson walked Lindsey Palmer and Lindsey Burris in succession to allow the tying and winning runs to score.

 

While Donaldson took the loss, Barton earned the win for Bluefield, allowing six hits and striking out four.

 

“They really became disciplined in the box late in the game, but we’ve got to do it from the start, we got behind,” said Bluefield first-year coach Charolette Shelton, who product of Richlands High School and Pikeville College. “Lindsey pitched a heck of a game and finally our offense came back to help her out. I’m really proud of them, they never gave up.”

 

Bluefield State, which was led by Courtney Johnson’s two hits, scored twice in the third when Donaldson drew a bases-loaded walk and Virginia Smith was hit by a pitch to force in another run.

 

Upham, who joined Marmo and Weddle with two hits, singled in the fourth and scored on an error, but a possible second run was cut down on a throw to the plate by Johnson from left field.

 

Three runs in the fifth, keyed by singles from Johnson and Ashlee Roderick and the error by Marmo built the lead to 5-1.

 

Marmo remembered as she approached the plate.

 

“I was really determined, I was kind of down after that error and all the other mistakes we were making out there,” Marmo said. “I was determined to go up there and just do something with the bat considering I didn’t do anything in the field.”

 

Bluefield State had three errors in the game, and Rams drew eight walks. Pruett, in his first full season as Bluefield State coach, said those mistakes have been the reason for the team’s difficult start to the season.

 

“It was just key throwing errors that have been killing us all year,” said Pruett, whose Blues will host Charleston next Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things, we gave them the game.

 

“We’ve just got to bear down and learn from our mistakes, that’s the way to go about it.”

 

Shelton, whose Rams will host Covenant in a doubleheader today at 2 p.m., is excited about the potential the Lady Rams possess.

 

“These girls have worked hard, parents and fans have told me it’s been a great turnaround since I’ve been here,” Shelton said. “I give the girls credit, they’re the ones working hard and giving me what they’ve got.”

 

In the finale, Bluefield State collected 15 hits, keyed from home runs from Kari Chaffin and Ashley Sexton. Chaffin, who allowed just four hits in getting her first collegiate win in the circle, also drove in four runs.

 

Scoring has been an issue for the Lady Blues, who have scored just 28 runs in 14 games this season. Nine of those came in the win over the Rams. Pruett would have liked a few more of those in the opener.

 

“Our bats came alive, we have not been scoring runs,” said Pruett, after the opening game. “We actually got on the board, we just didn’t get enough insurance runs in there.”

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