Dawid delivers for Crusaders in win over Masuk

Alexa Dawid’s infield slap was thrown away in the bottom of the first inning and she raced around the bases to score the game’s lone run after the Panthers struggled to retrieve the ball when Lauralton Hall upended Masuk of Monroe, 1-0, in Milford on May 2.

“Alexa is fast... She’s very quick,” Lauralton Hall coach Amanda Acampora said. “That’s her job and she did it. She did a phenomenal job.”

Tatum Buckley threw a no-hitter and struck out 12 for Masuk (8-2). Crusaders’ ace Haley Congdon nearly matched Buckley’s no-hit bid, allowing just a lead-off single to Buckley in the sixth inning.

“At the end of the day, you have to score runs to win ball games,” Masuk coach Jacqui Sheftz said. “It was a classic pitcher duel on both ends. It came down to our one mistake and not being able to get that key hit with runners in scoring position.”

In the Masuk sixth, and after Kayla Crisci popped out, Lauren Middlemass ripped a liner to third base that was snared by Lindsey Spitz, who threw across the diamond to double off Buckley at first base.

Spitz also saved a run in the top of the fourth, backhanding Brittany DaMota’s grounder with Hailey Kobza on second base. Her throw beat DaMota, with Kobza moving to third, before Steph Appelberg popped out to end the frame.

Masuk put the lead-off runner on base four times over the final six innings, but could not crack Congdon — who struck out seven.

“Haley and Alex Moleski behind the plate communicated, did what they had to do and that’s a good hitting team,” Acampora said. “That’s a team that averages a whole lot of runs per game.”

In the top of the second inning, DaMota was hit by a pitch and moved to second base on Appelberg’s sacrifice bunt. Congdon defused the threat, striking out Jana Migliaro and Becca Tillotson to retire the side.

Buckley allowed just one ball to be hit out of the infield, a fly to DaMota in center field off the bat of freshman Christiana Cottrell. The Panther senior struck out six batters in a row prior to Cottrell’s flyout, but the Masuk offense could not solve Congdon.

Congdon nailed down the win for Lauralton Hall in the top of the seventh, striking out DaMota for the first out. Appelberg then hit a fly into the gap, but left fielder Ireland Miesseau tracked it down on the run for the second out. Tori Schiebe followed with a drive to right field, but right fielder Rachel Landock caught it for the final out.

“We work on that every single day and it paid off today,” Acampora said of the strong defense.

“They’re a phenomenal team. For us to be able to hang with, then beat them, give us a ton of confidence.”