MONTGOMERY - The screams from her teammates let her know what was happening on the field. And from that point on it was all up to Mallory Fry.
Bloomsburg's center fielder scooped up the choppy groundball single that split the infield, wasted little time gathering herself and let a rocket fly toward home plate.
Without having to move her glove, Lea Rehm easily made the tag as the throw beat Kaitlyn Warzel by a few steps, taking away a crucial run in the second inning.
The play proved to be decisive, especially after Montgomery rallied in the final inning, scoring all its runs. The surge fell short, though, as Bloomsburg captured a 7-6 win, securing the season sweep over the Red Raiders.
"It was a big play. It really helped the team out to get that third out and prevent the run from scoring," Fry said. "I find it easier when my teammates are yelling. It makes it so I can just focus on getting the ball and throwing it home."
"That girl just made one tremendous throw from center field," Montgomery coach Craig Weaver said.
Bloomsburg (8-4) opened the contest with some punch, scoring four runs off the strength of three consecutive singles. The last of them drove in two runs, scoring Michele Smith and Rehm. Along with driving in the Panthers' first two runs, Vanessa Michael also scored as part of a two-run fifth inning.
"We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot through the first couple of innings," Weaver said. "I kept trying to tell the girls it was all about hitting. Once they start hitting things start happening."
Once on the board, the Panthers extended the first-inning surge when Alyssa Ziller walked on five pitches, later scoring on a fielder's choice. Ziller also pulled relief duties to secure the final out after Montgomery's (7-5) rally knocked starter, Courtney Adamchick, out of the game.
Ziller entered in the seventh, facing a two-out, two runners on base situation. Ziller walked the initial batter before ending the Red Raiders rally with a pop-out to first base.
"The thing is, the girls could have rolled over and quit, but they didn't," Weaver said. "It's the trademark of this team-not giving up. We didn't give in and made things interesting."
After the four-run first inning, Adamchick retired Montgomery's first three batters in order. Bloomsburg's starting pitcher tossed a solid game, keeping her control before Montgomery was able to finally get to her in the seventh.
And besides the late rally, Montgomery's offense only challenged Bloomsburg's defense in the second.
Kaitlyn Warzel opened with a single and was followed by her sister Kiersten, who also singled. Adamchick retired the next two batters before Kaitlin Persing roped a ground ball single into center field, setting Fry up for the improbable throw to the plate.
"At that point in time, Montgomery's bats started warming up," Bloomsburg coach Chris Malatesta said. "They score runs in that situation it would have been a 4-2 or 4-3 game. To hold them off, and make that play, it became the play of the ball game. Making a play early in the game, made the difference late in the game."
Bloomsburg 410 020 0-7 10 1
Montgomery 000 000 6-6 9 2
Courtney Adamchick, Alyssa Ziller (7) and Lea Rehm. Emily Shnyder and Kaitlyn Warzel.
W-Adamchick. L-Shnyder. S-Ziller.
Top Bloomsburg hitters: Michele Smith 2-4, 2 runs, SB; Rehm 3-4, 2B, run, RBI, SB; Vanessa Micheal 2-4, 2 RBI, run. Top Montgomery hitters: Rebecca Hite 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, run; Kaitlyn Warzel 2-4, 2B, Kaitlin Persing 3-3, run.
Records: Montgomery 7-5. Bloomsburg 8-4. Next: Montgomery at Lewisburg, Saturday, 11 a.m.