Pittman pitches Campers past Sentinels 4-1

Jun. 2—CUMBERLAND — It's easy to fall asleep in the field when Allegany fireballer Kyra Pittman is blowing away hitters left and right.

The Campers were wide awake against Fort Hill Tuesday.

Pittman still fanned 13 Sentinels; but, when the ball did end up in play, the defense didn't give an inch. Right fielder Ryland Kienhofer made a sliding grab, sure-handed shortstop Samara Funk had four putouts and Allegany made it look easy.

Fort Hill fought hard behind the right arm of Ally Myers, yet the Campers' four-run first inning was all they needed to win the city game 4-1.

"We didn't feel like we played our best game, and of course Fort Hill had something to do with that, they played very well," Allegany head coach Brian Miller said. "We're trying to finish undefeated so we can get the highest seed we can for the playoffs.

"The defense has been so good all year, and it's not easy because Kyra strikes out so many. You're here for about two hours and you might only get one play, and you have to make it. They seem to do it.

"We'll take the win and we'll just keep trying to get better like we have been."

Pittman settled in after surrendering a run in the first inning on a single by Emily Mallow. The senior retired 19 of the final 21 batters she faced, allowing just three hits in seven frames.

In two games against the Sentinels this year, the University of Maryland signee has allowed just one run in 14 innings with 28 strikeouts.

The key innings for Allegany Tuesday came in the third and fourth, where a noticeably gassed Pittman — she was flexing her arm and grimacing at times — quickly retired Fort Hill 1-2-3 without requiring a strikeout.

"I just got back from a tournament so I'm really, really tired," Pittman said. "It's easier to know that I have my teammates behind me, so I'm more capable to pitch well. Those short innings really help me out in the circle because that's fewer pitches I have to throw."

At the plate, both teams did all their damage in the opening inning.

Allegany started off the scoring when Kienhofer drew a bases-loaded free pass, and Skyler Porter broke the game open after ripping a liner to right to plate two more.

Katie Sterne, Riley Gallagher, Kylie Hook and Mackenzie Lambert accounted for the squad's other four hits.

Allegany scored a fourth first-inning run after a short fly ball by Lambert fell in the Bermuda Triangle behind second base.

"We can't obviously get that far behind right out of the shoot," Sentinels head coach Guy Robertson said, "but I think it shows a lot of growth from our girls with how they were able to keep it together and continue to work through the ballgame, knowing that they were up against a really tough opponent and a really good pitcher."

Following that blip at the start, Myers retired the next 17 batters she faced, before she was forced to come out after sustaining a knee injury on the base paths in the sixth.

In six innings of work, Myers allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits — all of which came in the first. She struck out six and walked none. Just like Pittman, the Fort Hill ace used here defense.

"We were poor defensively last Thursday and we really struggled. Today, we came out and made plays," Robertson said. "She wasn't striking out a lot of people. Balls were getting put in play and they did a good job making plays behind her.

"Kyra didn't strike out as many as she did last time either, you've got to rely on your teammates."

Emily Wilson, Myers and Mallow all singled for the Sentinels.

Though Miller was quick to give credit to Myers and the Fort Hill defense, he said the Campers will watch the game film before playoffs to shore up their plate appearances.

"She has a lot to do with it, we felt like we might have taken too many pitches. I didn't like our approach there," he said. "I don't know if we relaxed when we got up four, but we'll go back and look at each at-bat individually and try to figure out how to get better."

Allegany will look to finish the season undefeated with a matchup at Southern today at 4:30 p.m. Fort Hill will try to get back on track at home against Northern tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.

Alex Rychwalski is a sportswriter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.