BY ED WRIGHT
April 14, 2010, 9:55 p.m.
The "Cardiac 'Cats" were at it again Wednesday afternoon.
Forty-eight hours after Plymouth's softball team won a heart-pounding season opener over South Lyon, coach Val Canfield's young and talented squad swept a pair of down-to-the-wire defensive battles with Livonia Franklin, 1-0 and 4-2.
Plymouth is now 3-0 on the young season -- not bad for a team whose starting line-up included freshmen on the mound, behind the plate and at second base during Wednesday's second game.
"It's always nice to start the season strong like we have because it sets the tone for the rest of the season," said Canfield. "It gives the team motivation and helps them believe in themselves."
Wednesday's game-one scoreboard was packed with zeros until the sixth inning when the Wildcats manufactured a run on a single, a fielder's choice and an error.
Amanda Burnard led off the frame with a single. Pinch-runner Allison Raylean advanced to second on Marissa Blassic's fielder's choice and scored when Kayla Rebain's hard-hit ground ball was misplayed into an error by the Patriots' third baseman.
Plymouth junior pitcher Lauren Smith was lights out all game, yielding just one hit to the Patriots -- a Nicole Williamson single in the fifth.
Tiffany Lamboe was nearly as effective as Smith, scattering five hits.
"It was another intense game," Canfield said. "The girls did what they had to do to win and Lauren Smith outdid herself again. She was outstanding."
The Wildcats pounced on Franklin for three first-inning runs in the first inning then hung on in a well-played contest that featured zero errors.
Freshman Elaine Gerou, who earned the save in Monday's nail-biter against the Lions, pitched a complete-game three-hitter. Gerou struck out four and yielded two walks.
"Elaine did a great job of hitting her spots," said Canfield. "She kept them from extending their arms and she was consistent."
Gerou's battery partner was freshman Kayla Rebain and the 'Cats starting second baseman was Bri Girodano, also a ninth-grader.
Plymouth's big first inning started with a single from Jessica Bondy, who scored on Stacey Klonowski's two-run bomb over the center-field fence. Blassic followed with a single and scored on Giordano's double.
After Franklin drew to within 3-2 with a pair fourth-inning runs, Plymouth added an insurance marker when Bondy singled and scored on a Klonowski single.
Pacing the winners' seven-hit attack were Klonowski (2-for-4, home run, two RBI), Blassic (1-for-3), Giordano (1-for-3, RBI) and Rebain, who collected a double in three at bats.
Plymouth is idle until Monday when it hosts cross-campus rival Salem in a 4 p.m. tilt.
Ed Wright can be reached (734) 453-1980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.