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Knoch’s Fraser out-pitches Freeport’s Selker in 1-0 win

Throwers’ Tilt
Knoch’s Marlee Fraser pitches against Freeport at Laura Doerr Park. She tossed a two-hitter in a 1-0 victory. (Steven Dalton Special to Butler Eagle) 4-17-2024

JEFFERSON TWP — It was a pitcher’s duel in the truest sense.

Knoch hurler Marlee Fraser allowed just a pair of hits in a complete game effort at home against neighboring rival Freeport on Wednesday afternoon. She donated to her own cause, as well, driving in the game’s lone run in a 1-0 non-conference softball win at Laura J. Doerr Memorial Park.

“She’s a sophomore pitcher, but she’s carrying this team — with her bat and in the circle,” Knights coach Chris Gardner said. “She’s clutch. She doesn’t waver at anything.”

That third-inning RBI double, which pushed Lindsey Wise across two pitches after her one-out single, dropped just short of being a home run and smacked off the center field fence.

“That at-bat, she got a pitch to hit,” Gardner said. “She got a pitch to hit and drive. She made a good swing on it.”

The extra-base knock came against Yellowjackets (4-4) senior and Akron pledge Sydney Selker. Selker did her part in the circle, allowing four hits in six innings of work.

Though it was the first time battling the talented Selker, Fraser relished her role, which showed in the pivotal performance she put up for Knoch (7-3).

“I think it’s a good opportunity for me as an underclassman,” Fraser said. “I like being under pressure. It’s weird saying that, but I like being under pressure and I like being relied on.”

Still well within striking distance, Selker got out of the fourth and fifth innings using a total of 16 pitches. She approached the plate in the top half of the sixth with a chance to level the scoreboard with one swing.

Selker popped up Fraser’s first offering in foul territory behind first base, but the Knights couldn’t squeeze it. After looking at a strike, she whacked a sharp grounder that snuck just left of the third base bag. Selker took a ball, fouled another off, and watched the third strike to end the frame.

“Honestly, I was just trying to not give her one down the middle,” admitted Fraser, who set down each of the final nine batters that challenged her. “It worked out for me.”

To seal the narrow victory in the seventh, Fraser sandwiched a strikeout by forcing Addy Caruso to line out to second and Megan Grolemund to third.

“We played well defensively today,” Gardner said. “We didn’t hit like we’d like to hit, but that’s a good pitcher over there.”

Both Selker and Fraser earned two-out walks against one another in the first. The former’s courtesy runner, Kierra Clepper, was caught stealing to end the half-inning; while Fraser was marooned at second when Carissa Tekely struck out looking.

“Two very elite pitchers from the area,” Freeport coach Ron DeJidas said. “They both gave you what you would expect. We counted Syd’s pitches and, through six innings, she was at 80 pitches. ... She was very efficient.”

Clepper reached third base after Selker led off the fourth with a hard-hit single up the middle, but she was kept there when Fraser struck out Grolemund.

Knoch’s Lizzie Danik began the follow half-inning with a single before Sylvia Luffy grounded into a double play. Brynne Smith hit a weak single in front of the plate after that, then Selker struck out Alena Tekely.

Sophomore backstop Reese Selker accounted for the ‘Jackets’ only other base knock, a blooper that fell just fair behind third in the visitors’ second. Fraser fanned Addi Gourley to polish off that half-inning.

“I thought our girls made a lot of good swings, too,” DeJidas said. “It’s just (that) our hard hits went right to them. They made the defensive plays.”

Freeport 000 000 0 — 0 2 0

Knoch 001 000 x — 1 4 0

W: Marlee Fraser 7IP (10K, 1BB). L: Sydney Selker 6IP (5BB, 3BB).

Freeport (4-4): Sydney Selker 1B, Reese Selker 1B

Knoch (7-3): Lindsey Wise 1B R, Marlee Fraser 2B RBI, Lizzy Danik 1B, Brynne Smith 1B

Friday: Deer Lakes at Freeport; Knoch at McKeesport

Marlee Fraser (5) for knoch yells after knoch scores a run against Freeport at Laura Doerr Park. (Steven Dalton Special to Butler Eagle) 4-17-2024
Marlee Fraser (5) leads off first for Knoch against Freeport at Laura Doerr Park. (Steven Dalton Special to Butler Eagle) 4-17-2024
Freeports Lauren Clark (12) Connects against Knoch at Laura Doerr Park. (Steven Dalton Special to Butler Eagle) 4-17-2024
Sydney Selker (87) on the mound again Knoch at Laura Doerr Park. (Steven Dalton Special to Butler Eagle) 4-17-2024
Knochs Lindsey Wise (7) rounds second on her way to scoring against Freeport at Laura Doerr Park. (Steven Dalton Special to Butler Eagle) 4-17-2024
Freeports Jayden Rezak (32) looks to make a play at first against Knoch at Laura Doerr Park. (Steven Dalton Special to Butler Eagle) 4-17-2024

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