Softball: Lake Braddock pitcher Ashley Flesch throws one-hitter to beat O’Connell, 2-1

March 22

Lake Braddock senior Ashley Flesch stepped to the mound in the top of the seventh inning Saturday three outs away from a perfect game against area power O’Connell.

But after Flesch hit Knights third baseman Hayley Metcalf, her focus turned solely on escaping with a win as the Bruins clinged to a two-run lead. The 6-foot hurler yielded a two-out single that cut the lead in half but held off the Knights for a 2-1 win in Burke.

“I just knew whatever I did, my team had my back,” Flesch said. “Even though we haven’t been on the field a lot lately, I knew we would all come through.”

The game marked only the second time either team had been on a field this month due to weather. Lake Braddock defeated Langley in a scrimmage, 3-2, on March 14 and O’Connell (1-1) opened its season with a 16-1 win over Holy Cross on March 11.

Neither pitcher showed much rust. O’Connell starter Erin Sweeney was effective in her six innings with three strikeouts, and the Knights’ defense contributed nicely as the Bruins left eight runners on base.

Meanwhile, Flesch’s wicked riseball often prompted Knights batters to reach for balls outside of the strike zone or swing a tad too late.

“That’s my go-to pitch. In travel [ball], I worked really hard in perfecting that. That’s my favorite,” Flesch said.

Flesch received run support in the first inning as junior first baseman Amanda Hendrix struck the first pitch she saw from Sweeney to the center field fence for a run-scoring double.

“I was pretty nervous, but I was looking for the right pitch,” Hendrix said. “When I get the jitters it’s kind of like whatever I see, I’m going to take.”

Lake Braddock (1-0) added an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI double to left by Danielle Newman that made a difference in the drama-filled seventh.

With Metcalf on first after being hit by a pitch in the top of seventh, Flesch got two outs before cleanup hitter Olivia Giaquinto smacked a ball to right field for the Knights’ first hit. The ball was mishandled, allowing Metcalf to score and putting Giaquinto on second. But Flesch induced a popup to close out the game.

“This is a good measuring stick for us,” Flesch said. “O’Connell has been good for a number of years so this is a big boost for us to win this game.”

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