Rebellion game lost in translation

July 29, 2014
Stacey Rice

One of the weaknesses of the Pennsylvania Rebellion in its inaugural season of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league has been an inability to score runs. They have scored just 76, last in the four-team league.

It’s one of the factors that has led to an 8-28 record.

So it’s understandable that when given an opportunity to put a run on the board, it was tempting to take a chance, especially since the opportunities were so few against Michelle Gascoigne, the starting pitcher for the Chicago Bandits who allows just a little more than one run a game.

The Rebellion failed on the two opportunities to score from third base, and that resulted in a 1-0 loss to the Bandits Tuesday night in front of 1,987 fans at Consol Energy Park and even more viewers on the CBS Sports Network, which televised the game.

The Rebellion lost four of the six games in this series and failed again to win back-to-back games.

“A run could be a game-changer for us,” said Rebellion manager Stacey Rice.

The first opportunity came in the first inning and was an aggressive play as shortstop Bianca Mejia headed around third and tried to score from second base on a two-out single to left field by Courtney Liddle.

Emily Allard’s throw to the plate was a good one and beat Mejia by two feet before catcher Kristen Butler applied the tag.

“Bianca was going to go,” Rice said. “I could see it in her eyes. I’m aggressive when it comes to baserunning.”

The second chance came in the seventh inning with the Rebellion trailing by a run. Right fielder Mandy Ogle opened the inning with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Angeline Quiocho. Second baseman Lauren Lappin sacrificed her to second and hot-hitting catcher Taylor Edwards came up.

Edwards, who homered and drove in all the runs in Monday night’s 3-1 win, sent a single to right field. Quiocho hit third base and made the turn.

That was when the play was lost in translation.

“I said, ‘Go,’ and she thought I said, ‘No,’” Rice said. “It was just a miscommunication. She saw the play better than I did.”

The mistake was the last of the night for the Rebellion. First baseman Breezy Hamilton slapped a grounder to third and Quiocho had to hold while Amber Patton looked her back before throwing out Hamilton. Gascoigne then struck out Sami Garcia to end the game.

“I wasn’t really concerned,” said Gascoigne of the Rebellion’s seventh inning rally. “Once we got the second out, I was confident we would win the game.”

While the Rebellion struggled to get baserunners, the Bandits were awash in them. Their problem also was getting them to home plate. Chicago left a whopping 12 runners on base for the game and 40 for the series.

Rebellion starter Sarah Pauly was a magician getting out of jams. The Bandits had runners on base in each inning, including two in the first, third, fourth fifth and sixth.

Pauly put the first batter on base in four of the seven innings, and the only time she couldn’t wriggle free was the fourth. Allard singled and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Brittany Cervantes.

“Many times in the game, I was looking at her and wondering if this would be her last batter,” Rice said. “We trust her. I thought we would leave her in until she started getting hit hard. But then she came back.”

Gascoigne allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three. Pauly gave up nine hits, one earned run, walked one and struck out four.

“Pauly does a good job,” Gascoigne said. “She’s a veteran and knows how to get out of jams.”

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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