WOODSTOCK – The cold and windy conditions gave Harvard starting pitcher Maty Brincks plenty of extra motivation to work quickly and efficiently Wednesday against Woodstock.
The Blue Streaks struggled to solve Brincks in the nonconference game at Bates Park. Brincks limited Woodstock three hits and one run in seven innings. The Hornets' offense provided just enough run support to give Harvard the edge in a 3-1 win.
Makayla Stephens hit the go-ahead two-run single in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie. The teams combined for eight 1-2-3 innings, resulting in a quick game that lasted 59 minutes. Brincks said her screwball was especially effective against the Streaks.
"I just wanted to get a first-pitch strike and do the best that I can to strike them out or get them to pop up," Brincks said. "Sometimes [in this weather] my outside pitches don't work so well because my fingers get so cold and I have to learn to pitch with my sweatshirt on."
Brincks retired the final 11 batters she faced and didn't allow a hit in last three innings. She finished with seven strikeouts and one walk. Woodstock starter Rachel Lohmeyer was nearly as dominant. Lohmeyer surrendered four hits and retired eight of the first nine batters she faced.
Woodstock (3-14) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, taking advantage of a one-out walk by Amy Fischbach. With two outs, senior Samantha Baker hit a triple to right field to score Fischbach.
The Hornets (7-10) answered in the bottom of the third to tie the score at 1. A lead-off walk by Montana Anderson, who advanced to second on a wild pitch, gave Harvard its first base runner of the game. Lohmeyer retired the next two hitters, however, Katelynn Proffitt drove home Anderson on an RBI single.
"They were a little anxious at the start of the game at the plate," Harvard coach Rick Cartwright said. "We said we had to settle down and do their job. They started to settle in and do their job a lot better."
The Streaks opened the fourth with a single from Shelby Vansickle, but they couldn't advance her against Brincks. That was the final hit and base runner Brincks allowed. Harvard's defense helped Brincks by playing a flawless game. Even amid the windy conditions, the Hornets didn't have any issues catching five fly balls for outs.
"We had too many strikeouts," Woodstock assistant coach Jenn Koeser said. "Just be aggressive. We worked the last few days of practice on hitting with two strikes on us and just keeping things short and sweet, keeping the ball in play and making something happen. Too many fly balls."
In the fifth inning, Harvard broke the tie. The first two hitters reached on a triple by Cheyenne Trebes, and Anderson was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners. Woodstock threw out Trebes at home on Sam McCloud's hit back to Lohmeyer to preserve the tie, but Harvard still had runners on first and second with only one out.
Stephens hit a hard single to right field to drive in Anderson and McCloud for a 3-1 lead. Woodstock escaped without further damage but couldn't get anything going offensively in the final two innings.
"I was just looking to hit it because I've been in a really big slump lately," Stephens said. "Coach [Cartwright] helped me with my swing, and I've been trying a new swing."