Friday, April 30th, 2010
By Mark Ruschau
Crowell pitches Parkway to a win
  ROCKFORD - The Parkway Panthers got a great pitching performance from senior Emily Crowell and some timely two-out hits to defeat the Marion Local Flyers 6-1 in Midwest Athletic Conference softball play Thursday afternoon at Parkway High School.
The Panthers remain undefeated in conference play at 4-0 with the win and they improve to 8-6 overall. Marion Local falls to 2-1 in the MAC and 8-8 on the year.
Crowell allowed the Flyers just one earned run on two hits in the complete-game win. Crowell had great control as she allowed just one walk and struck out five.
Crowell received great defensive help all day as her teammates did not commit an error and turned a huge doubleplay to get her out of trouble early. Marion Local's Rachel Puthoff led off the game with an infield hit to the right of the mound, which Crowell threw down the right-field line, allowing Puthoff to reach second. Crowell compounded her problems as she hit number-two batter Nicole Schwieterman. Crowell then induced Jodi Otte to hit into a double play on a nice play by second baseman Danielle Matthews and then got out of the jam by getting Amber Fleck to bounce out.
"When Emily is getting both her fastball over and her changeup working, it makes her doubly tough," said Parkway coach Mark Esselstein. "She was in command, let her defense play and they made the plays behind her and I was very happy about that."
"We just did not get the big hit when we needed it the first inning," said Marion Local coach Russ Puthoff. "Their defense stepped up and made a big play, getting the doubleplay and that was really big.
"Crowell started to find her spots and her changeup started working and she did a nice job," added Puthoff.
Parkway got on the board in the bottom of the first as Crowell singled with one out and scored all the way from first when a single by Matthews was thrown away by the Flyers' rightfielder over the head of the third baseman.
Marion Local tied the game in the top of the third as Puthoff singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a bounce out by Schwieterman.
Puthoff, with her single, was the last Flyer to reach base as Crowell sat down the last 14 batters she faced.
Parkway quickly retook the lead in the bottom of the third as Crowell took a 1-0 pitch over the fence in right-centerfield for the first home run in the brief history of the new Parkway diamond.
The Panthers then put the game away scoring four times with two outs in the fifth, highlighted by a pair of RBI doubles by Brittany Bollenbacher and Lindsay Shellabarger.
"The big difference between winning and losing is coming up with that big two-out hit," said Esselstein. "We have played a lot of games this year and the ones we lost we did not get two-out hits.
"I felt real good for Brittany Bollenbacher and Megan Ketchum, they both hit the ball hard today," continued Esselstein. "Last year, Lindsay Shellabarger had two huge hits in the two games that we played against Marion and I had a feeling that she would do the same thing today."
"We just could not get the last out when we needed to get it," said Puthoff. "You have to give credit to Mark's kids for staying alive with two outs, putting the ball in play, hitting the ball hard."
Marion Local is back in action on Saturday playing host to Fairbanks in a doubleheader. Parkway is also back in action on Saturday traveling to Fort Loramie for a twinbill.
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