Wildcats Prepare for WCWS Game 2 Foe Washington
June 1, 2007
WCWS Central | Bracket | Game 1 Recap | Q&A with Erin Dyer
The strategy from the beginning was simple: only hit good pitches. Sounds easy enough until one comes up against the Sun Devil's ace Katherine Burkhart. The lefty from San Luis Obispo, Calif., came into the game with 500 strikeout victims on her resume - all still wondering how a ball that looked so good one minute was just out of range the next. It didn't help that the first three Wildcat batters are left-handed, making the lefty vs. lefty combination even more challenging.
It may come as no surprise then that the three of the five hits game came from right-handed batters, including freshman Kelly Dryer's two-hit performance off of the Arizona State hurler. The game was all but sealed when sophomore shortstop Tammy Williams took a Burkhart curve ball opposite field. The shot careened off the left field foul pole for a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth to put Northwestern ahead 2-0.
The insurance run was more than enough as Eileen Canney was masterful in the circle for the Wildcats. It was apparent right from the start that Canney was hardly intimidated by the large crowd, ESPN cameras or the Pac-10's leading scoring team, as she rattled off three straight strikes against the first batter she faced. From there the game sailed on by, with the Wildcat ace picking up 10 more Ks in a complete-game, one-hit shutout.
With the win, the Wildcats advance to play sixth-seeded Washington, who handed DePaul an early 3-1 tournament loss on All-American sophomore pitcher Danielle Lawrie's no-hitter on Thursday. It was the 16th no-hitter recorded in WCWS history and the second of Lawrie's career.
From Burkhart to Lawrie there is no let up for this Northwestern crew, but then again that is life in the World Series. The Wildcats need to lay off Lawrie's rise ball that was all too tempting for the Blue Demons. After a hitless performance in the last game, All-American first baseman Garland Cooper should be hungry to bounce back and contribute with her bat.
Washington used two home runs to light up the scoreboard. A couple pitches just got away from DePaul starter Tracie Adix, and the Huskies made her pay for those mistakes. It comes as no surprise that one of those bombs came from Dena Tyson. Tyson leads the team in batting with an average just slightly over .400. The two-run shot was her 18th long ball of the season. While Canney showed great control in pitching her rise ball on different planes against Arizona State, she needs to use caution against this Husky team. Look for Canney to mix in more off-speed pitches to help keep batters off balance.