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Tireless Hrobak strikes out 22 in doubleheader sweep

Jamie Hrobak turned in arguably the most dominant pitching performance of her storied career to lead Brevard to a doubleheader sweep over Converse on Friday afternoon.

The former Polk County standout earned the win in both ends of the twinbill. The senior pitched the first five innings of the first contest before returning to record the final out. She opened the game by setting down seven of the first eight batters she faced on strikes, with the only batter to reach drawing a 10-pitch walk.

Hrobak gave up just one hit in the contest, a bunt single to lead off the fourth, and struck out 11 batters in her 5.1 innings of work. She then returned to earn a complete-game win in the second contest, striking out another 11 batters without issuing a free pass and allowing two runs.

In all, Hrobak threw 189 pitches in 12.1 innings in the circle, recording 22 strikeouts and issuing one walk. Of the eight hits she allowed, three were bunt singles, and only one of the two runs she gave up was earned.

Despite Hrobak’s dominance, the Tornados (5-5) needed clutch hitting to pull out a dramatic Game Two victory. Brevard led 2-1 in the top of the sixth before Maddison Lukens’ leadoff bunt single put the tying run aboard. Lukens took an extra base on a sacrifice bunt to reach third with one out, then narrowly beat center fielder Lauren Parker’s throw to the plate to score on an Anna Bennett sacrifice fly.

With darkness quickly approaching and the game knotted at two, Paige Atkison strode to the plate to lead off the bottom of the inning. After fouling off a pitch and taking a ball, Atkison smashed the next pitch she saw deep over the fence in left center to put the Tornados back in front.

The hit opened the floodgates for the Brevard offense. The Tornados batted around in the inning, pushing four more runs across on two-run singles by Parker and pinch hitter Ricki Kuhn. Hrobak allowed three hits in the top of the seventh to load the bases, but induced a ground ball to Kinsey Parrish at shortstop for the final out of the inning to preserve the win.

Brevard grabbed the lead in the second inning thanks to extremely aggressive baserunning. Kinny Davis doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Ashleigh Ivey drew a walk, then took advantage of an unobservant defense to steal second.

As Ivey rounded second, Davis alertly realized that time had not been called and broke for the plate. The throw to the catcher was late and allowed Ivey to sprint for third, sliding into the bag as the throw caromed into left field. She scored on the throwing error, turning a walk with a runner at third base into two runs for the Tornados.

Brevard was equally opportunistic in the afternoon’s first game. Lauren Parker led off with an infield single, stole second, reached third on a Peyton Bailey sacrifice bunt, and raced home on a wild pitch. The Tornados tacked on two more unearned runs on a dropped fly ball to give Hrobak all the run support she would need in the first inning.

Davis provided insurance with a third inning RBI single to stretch the lead to 4-0. The Valkyries scored an unearned run in the sixth to pull within three runs, but stranded three baserunners over the final two innings as Kuhn and Hrobak collaborated to preserve the victory.

The Valkyries were only able to retire Davis once on the afternoon. The junior catcher hit a pair of singles in the first game before fouling out in her final at-bat. She then went 3-for-3 in the second game, including a pair of doubles, finishing her day with 5-for-6 with three runs scored and an RBI. Parker was 3-for-6 with two RBI and a run scored.

Brevard will be back in action Saturday with a doubleheader at Milligan. First pitch against the Buffaloes is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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