These flames just couldn’t be contained
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2004
When she’s not on the softball field, it’s tough to get Brittany Ashby to talk about herself. Ask her how she felt after a game, even one in which she played well (which is pretty common, judging by the fact that she helped the SYAA 9-10 Fireballs to a 17-0 record this season), and you’re lucky to get more than a pair of wide eyes and a one-word answer.
But that’s OK. Because Monday in the finals of her team’s season-ending tournament at the Windsor Athletic Fields, Ashby’s mouth stayed quiet. It was her pitching arm that made some serious racket. She held the Smithfield Braves to a single runner for the last three innings as the Fireballs slipped past for their toughest win of the season, a 5-3 victory for the tournament title.
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The Suffolk squad loaded the bases in the first inning, but was unable to knock in a run. The Braves, who fell to the Fireballs early in the tournament, went on the offensive, knocking across three runs to put the Suffolk squad in their biggest hole of the season.
Anne Higinbotham walked for Suffolk in the bottom of the inning, and stole her way home. Jen Asbell did the same after being hit by a pitch, but the flamers didn’t score again.
On the mound, Kiera Ricks sent the Braves down in order, and then tied the score on her own steal of home in the third. &uot;I was looking at the plate,&uot; she said of her dash. &uot;Then the umpire told me I was safe, and I felt GREAT!&uot;
Ashby came in to pitch, and kept the Braves off the scoreboard. She and Ginny Griffin hit the plate in the fourth, but the Fireballs didn’t get another hit, and the game rested on Ashby’s pitching arm and in the gloves of her teammates.
The Braves went down in order in the fifth, and Ashby recorded her fourth strikeout to open the sixth. The next batter popped out, but the third reached on an error and stole her way to third. Ashby worked the count to 2-1 on the fourth girl, who bounced a grounder to the right of the mound.
At second base, Brittany Krepp gloved the ball, but it popped out. She stepped forward, scooped it up and flipped it underhand to Jen Crofton at first. The ball arrived milliseconds before the runner, but it was enough – the inning, the game, the tournament and the Fireballs’ perfect season was in the books (and, obviously, the newspapers!).
&uot;I thought they were going to score,&uot; Asby admitted afterward. &uot;I guess I was kind of nervous.&uot;