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Morris bats have no answer for Dwight's Gaston

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:23 p.m. CDT

Dwight senior pitcher Erin Gaston kept rearing back and firing her riseball in at the Morris hitters.

Too often, the Redskins were late on the ball or couldn't handle Gaston's superb movement.

While Morris starter Morgan Akre matched Gaston, now in her fourth year pitching on the Trojans' varsity team, for five innings, Dwight would pull away with a big sixth.

The Redskins weren't able to get any sort of a rally going against the Trojans, with Dwight getting a 6-1 non-conference win.

Morris (0-1) had just three hits. Akre had a single in the fifth and a solo home run in the seventh, while Tori Hanford led off the game with a bunt single before getting caught stealing second.

"[Morris coach Jen Lowery] was telling everyone to scoot up in the box even though she was faster, to get ahead of her movement," Akre said. "And she pretty much told everyone to not swing at a high pitch. Her rise was starting high and just going higher."

Gaston (5-0) struck out eight Redskins hitters, with a lot of them taking a chance at that riseball and coming up short. She mixed in her offspeed stuff as well.

"She can really throw five different pitches," Dwight coach Erik Black said. "Her riseball's really good, her fastball pops real well but she's got a great curve and a screwball, too."

Thursday's contest was Morris' season opener and the first game for new coach Jen Lowery, who thought her team just didn't sit back and have patience in its first contest of the season.

"We were just, I think so impatient. Being our first game out there, ready to go," Lowery said. "Everybody was tense and not relaxed at the plate. Hopefully now on Saturday (at Joliet Catholic), we've got all those jitters out of us, and now we'll be ready to go."

Akre (0-1) kept the Trojans (6-1) at bay for the first four innings before Alyssa Brownlee hit a solo home run in the fifth.

For the top of the sixth, Lowery replaced Akre, who has been having some back problems, with junior Erica Gualandi.

The Trojans would push across four runs off Gualandi. Dwight added its sixth run in the seventh on a Tori Grzincic homer off Akre, who Lowery brought in for the final frame.

"They were catching on to [Akre], we thought maybe we'd throw their timing off (by bringing in Gualandi)," Lowery said. "But they were just a good hitting team."

Akre threw six total innings, giving up two earned runs — the two solo homers, on four hits. She struck out eight Dwight hitters.

Lowery said Akre, who's in her second season as the Redskins' starting pitcher, just looked more confident in the circle.

"We knew she was going to be key for us offensively and defensively this year. A leader coming through," Lowery said. "She a lot more composed and calm on the mound. More in charge. More comfortable."

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