BRUNSWICK – McKell Barnes had her eyes on the prize and her feet in a lead Tuesday.

“It was important for me to get a good jump,” said the Brunswick catcher. “So automatically I was off the base a couple more steps than I would have been earlier in the game.”

So when Jen Jurczak’s inside pitch went off the catcher’s glove, Barnes raced home from third to lift the Dragons in a 2-1 victory over the Vikings in a battle of two of the top teams in Eastern A.

“I just saw the catcher reach for it,” said Barnes. “It was off the catcher’s glove. I knew it was so important to get down there.”

Jurczak pitched a no-hitter for Oxford Hills (11-2), but the Vikings were plagued by six errors and eight left on base. The Vikings lost to Brunswick 12-1 earlier in the year. Though Oxford Hills gave the Dragons (12-1) a battle, Brunswick held its top-seeding and spot in the KVAC playoffs.

“We just really wanted the win today,” said Barnes. “It was so important for us. The first time we beat them was 12-1, and that didn’t mean anything. They were No. 2 and we were No. 1, and it could have gone either way. Fortunately, it went our way.”

Jurczak struck out nine, but Brunswick produced the winning run thanks to two errors and a hit batter in the bottom of the sixth.

The Vikings had just two hits off Jess Timmreck in the first outing but had five hits, led by a pair from Mindy Rugg. Though Oxford Hills put runners on, it struggled to bring them home. The Vikings had the lead runner on the in the second but didn’t get her in. In the fourth, Oxford Hills put two runners on with no outs but came up empty. In the fifth, the Vikings loaded the bases with no outs and managed just one run.

“We didn’t execute,” said Vikings coach Cindy Goddard. “If we get a base hit, we get three runs and we feel a little more confident. We had the kids that could have done it.”

The Vikings lone run came when Teira Durgin hit a grounder to second with the bases full. The throw home was wide and Kaymala Eells scored when Barnes pulled her foot. Timmreck served up three more ground ball outs to escape the threat.

The Vikings were fortunate to escape the first down 1-0. A walk, a hit batter and two errors led to an early run when Estela Jacobs scored on a botched run-down.

“I don’t know if it was the pressure or the excitement, but we didn’t make some plays that we’d normally make,” said Goddard.


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