MORRISTOWN - Bridgeport and Union Local were hooked up in a classic scoreless pitcher's duel Tuesday until a trio of fielding errors by the Bulldogs allowed the Jets to post a 3-1 victory in high school softball action.
"Give both pitcher's credit," Union Local coach Roger Herbert said. "Both pitched great games. (Ashley) Hadzima really kept us off balance, but Ali (Bethel) pitched well, also."
The Jets' Bethel allowed a leadoff bunt single to Dustyne Cargnell to start the game, but the only other two baserunners to reach through five innings were via errors.
Bridgeport's Hadzima, meanwhile, had permitted just a second-inning double off the bat of Megan Stull and walked a pair of Jets (3-1) through four innings.
Union Local's Maddie Schafer rifled a singled back through the box that narrowly missed hitting Hadzima with two outs in the fifth. Bethel, the Jets' No. 9 hitter, walked on a 3-1 pitch to keep the rally alive. Olivia Minamyer sent what appeared to be a harmless fly ball to right-center, but it was misplayed into a two-base, two-run error. Minamyer alertly took third when the relay throw got away for a second error.
With the count 1-0 on Cori Medley, her bunt attempt was popped up in front of the plate. Bridgeport catcher Keri Renzler hustled out to make a play, but, unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the ball popped out of her glove as Minamyer raced home to make it 3-0.
"They had those big errors at the end of the game that hurt them," Herbert said. "Other than that, they played a good game, as did my girls."
Bridgeport threatened in its final at-bat as Hadzima lined a leadoff triple to the fence in left-center. She scored on Peyton Stewart's ensuing groundout.
One out later, Kallie Meyers singled to center, but Bethel finished in style with her ninth strikeout.
"That's what I just told the girls," Bridgeport coach Tom Joseph said. "We can be in every game this year. They're young and talented, but we're going to make some mistakes along the way. That's kind of what happened to us (Tuesday)."
Herbert thought the turning point in the game came when Renzler reached third with no outs in the fourth via two errors, but couldn't get any further.
"They had a chance there," he recalled. "But Ali really came through and struck out the side. She did a really good job."
Bethel allowed only three hits, two in the seventh inning, while striking out nine. She didn't walk a batter and only went to three balls on two hitters. She tossed 83 pitches, with 60 being for strikes.
Hadzima also allowed only three hits. She struck out seven and issued two free passes.
Megan Stull had a double for Union Local.