HOUSTON – Runs are precious when the Chartiers-Houston and Frazier high school softball teams meet.
Four out of the last six meetings between the section rivals have been determined by a single run.
It was about the runs that failed to score Tuesday afternoon.
Finding her way through the ever-changing strike zone, Frazier pitcher Logan Hartman ripped the heart out of Chartiers-Houston early and got stronger as the afternoon progressed, shutting out the Bucs, 2-0, to move into first place in the Class 2A Section 3 standings.
It was the first time Chartiers-Houston (5-1, 9-2), which falls behind a half game behind the Commodores in the section standings, was held scoreless in a regular-season game since a 1-0 loss to Jefferson-Morgan on April 24, 2015.
The Bucs beat Frazier 2-1 in their first meeting March 30.
Hartman worked out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts and a harmless infield popout in foul territory.
“We unfortunately couldn’t get the hits we needed in the first inning when we had them back on their heels,” said Chartiers-Houston coach Tricia Alderson. “We hit the ball well but they made some nice plays and catches.”
Hartman only got stronger in the circle as the game progressed.
After center fielder Megan Celaschi threw out a runner trying for home in the bottom of the second, which turned into a double play to end the inning, Hartman clamped down.
She only surrendered a pair of hits over the final five innings and held off a late comeback by the Bucs, stranding the game-tying run at second base.
Hartman stranded seven runners in her complete-game victory, striking out four and relying on her deeply positioned outfielders to track down fly balls.
“It was extremely tough for me today because I try to pick apart their hitters,” Hartman said. “I threw to them according to their swings. I couldn’t do that today (because of some calls). My defense really helped me out. I’m thankful for my outfield.”
Frazier (6-1, 8-1) took advantage of its early opportunity to score as Kathryn Barch hit an RBI double to straightaway center field for a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The Commodores added an insurance run an inning later when No. 9 hitter Megan Celaschi, who went 3-for-3, singled to left field to score courtesy runner Tori Washinski to lead 2-0.
That allowed Frazier coach Don Hartman to play his outfield only a few feet away from the fence to prevent extra-base hits against the powerful Bucs.
“(Chartiers-Houston) hits a ton of home runs,” Don Hartman said. “They are a gorilla-ball type of team. We were trying to keep them off second base. A few of those bombs they hit later in the game would have fallen for doubles and triples. It’s a gamble. You have to guess a lot and hope you guess right.”
Chartiers-Houston failed to score any of its five baserunners who reached second base.
Hartman retired 10 hitters in a row from the final out in the fourth to the second out in the seventh inning. She got out of the seventh-inning jam one batter before having to face C-H’s Kaci Alderson.
“We talked about that,” Don Hartman said of the potential of facing Alderson. “I don’t care what the situation was, Kaci Alderson was not swinging the bat. She was not swinging. Not that their other hitters aren’t great because they are. But one swing from her and it can be in the trees. We were lucky to not be put in that situation.”