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Fastpitch girls lose 3rd league game

"Falcon third baseman Keasha Campbell plays close to the plate as a Lynnwood batter takes a swing at the ball.Jim Larsen / staff photosAlthough they've played well most of the time, the Falcon fastpitch team is still looking for its first conference victory of the season.Monday afternoon South Whidbey lost its third consecutive North Cascades Conference game, falling 8-0 to the visiting Nooksack Valley Pioneers.Pioneer pitcher Lacey Steiner kept the Falcon bats quiet, giving up only 3 hits in her shutout performance. Falcon starter Ashley Lopez matched Steiner for a while, as both teams were scoreless over the first 3 innings. But Nooksack scored 8 unanswered runs over the final four innings to win easily.The Pioneers improved to 2-1 in league while South Whidbey fell to 0-3.In a non-league home game Saturday, the Falcon fastpitch squad made a dramatic final-frame comeback to nip visiting Lynnwood 3-2.Pitchers Val Mock and Ashley Lopez kept the Falcons close as they trailed only 1-2 going into the seventh inning. Bronwyn Russell started the winning rally with a base-hit bunt, then Nici Eaton sacrificed Russell to second. Julie Robinson came through with a line drive base hit, scoring Russell to tie the score at 2-2 and move Robinson to second. Lopez hit a liner toward the gap to advance Robinson to third, and she scored on a game-winning single by Jenny Murphy.The Falcons and their fans broke into celebration. It was pretty emotional, said coach Renee Christian. Russell went 2 for 2 at the plate while Julie Murphy was 2 for 4. Mock pitched 5 innings and had much better control than in prior outings.Defensively the Falcons shut down the Lynnwood offense with several spectacular plays and only one error. These kids are just remarkable, said Christian. They have great arms. Even in Monday's 8-0 loss the Falcons made only one fielding error.Earlier last week the Falcons dropped two North Cascades Conference games to start the young season 0-2 in league.At Lynden Christian on Thursday, the Falcons lost a 3-2 heartbreaker. Lopez gave up only 3 hits while striking out 6 but was called on a couple of balks due to a hop in her delivery.The Falcons didn't go quietly. With two outs in the seventh they loaded the bases on a walk and hits by Kasha Campbell and Jenny Murphy. But the game-winning hit wasn't to be in this contest.Last Tuesday, the Falcons hosted Granite Falls and lost 7-5. Mock had yet to find her control and gave up some early runs before settling down. Later, freshman Nici Eaton came in to pitch and did an outstanding job of holding the Tigers. The Falcons came back but were too far behind to entirely overtake the opposition.Wednesday, March 28 the Falcons travel to Lakewood for another important North Cascades contest. "

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