SPORTS September 5th, 2006

By Neil Becker

Another win for local ladies softball team

Harry's Home Improvement not setting hopes too high for playoffs

Despite coming up with another key victory, HarryÕs Home Improvement is taking a cautious approach when looking ahead to the playoffs.

Sharon McNutt, who has been clutch for this fourth-place East York Ladies Softball league team, talked about the importance of digging deep and coming up with that extra effort if they are to enjoy a long postseason run.

ÒI donÕt really care who we face in the playoffs, but I donÕt think weÕre quite ready right now,Ó said McNutt minutes after her team improved to a 10-10 record with a 10-6 win against the winless DHL on Aug. 17 at Dieppe Park.

DHL, who will be facing the defending champion SophieÕs Squad when the playoffs begin, quickly fell behind 3-0 on some hits that barely made it out of the infield.

Cindy Elliot who made several highlight catches for HarryÕs, got things going offensively as she reached first on an error. After stealing second, Elliot came home to score the first run on a single up the middle from Gena Spence.

Building on that momentum, Amanda Lefebvre followed with her first of two singles in the game as she eventually scored on a groundout. HarryÕs tacked on one more run as McNutt cranked an RBI single to left field scoring Nancy Padfield.

ÒWe have all bonded during the season and even though we had the fast start, we knew it would be a tough game,Ó said McNutt. ÒThey are a good running aggressive team and no way were we taking them for granted.Ó

In the third, Lefebvre had a run-scoring groundout as Mary Ellen Bendoraitis scored to increase the lead quickly to four before things began to go south in the middle innings for HarryÕs Home Improvement.

Shira Anklewicz sparked the offense in the fourth inning by drawing a leadoff walk. After advancing to third on a sacrifice, she eventually scored on an infield bouncer to break the goose egg.

Mounting a one-out rally, Allyson Cullen, known to her teammates as ÒSunflowerÓ, drilled a single up the middle and eventually scored to make things interesting.

The bats exploded for two more runs as pinch runner Shira Anklewitcz came in to run at second base and showed great wheels by scoring easily along with Maureen Patterson on a looping single from Deb Briggs.

ÒTonight, we were really smart running the bases,Ó said Cullen. ÒWe got some timely hits and everyone played well in the field.Ó

Showing true resiliency, HarryÕs responded by scoring a run in their half of the fourth on a clutch two out single by Elliot before getting two more on run scoring singles from Padfield and Karen Beteau to give them a 7-4 lead.

Daring base running paid off for DHL in their half of the sixth as Cullen, standing on third, came home to score on the backend of a double steal.

They went on to make it a one-run game as Anklewitcz got a one out RBI chopper, but it wasnÕt enough as HarryÕs got three more runs on sharp hits with runners on base from Padfield and McNutt to put things away.

ÒIt was a great last inning, we had lots of fun tonight and hopefully weÕll be ready for the playoffs,Ó said McNutt.

** The playoffs in the EYLS are scheduled to begin on Aug. 29 at Dieppe Park and Leaside Park. All eight teams will participate in the postseason. Look for the final results in the next East York issue of the Town Crier.