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Britton is nearly perfect in Alco's 3-1 win over Keyser

Mar. 24—KEYSER, W.Va. — Abi Britton recorded 20 consecutive outs but came up one shy of a perfect game.

However, it was still a dominant complete game for Allegany's ace, leading the Campers to a 3-1 win over Keyser on Friday.

"I thought it was a great ball game, two solid teams," Allegany head coach Dave Winner said. "Outstanding pitching on both sides. I'm pleased with how we hit. It was a good game for us against good competition. Keyser had both their pitchers throw the ball well."

Britton threw five perfect games last season, one shy of the Maryland single season record.

She was on pace for another on Friday.

Through five innings, she struck out 13 of the 15 batters she faced.

"Abi's just Abi," Winner said. "That's not unusual for her. Every time she takes the mound, she has a chance of throwing a no-hitter. She's just that good."

The Golden Tornado (2-3) only put two balls in play. A dropped third strike in the second inning was the first potential base runner, but Riley Gallagher's throw to first was in time.

"This is gonna be the best team we play all year," Keyser assistant coach Cody Spotts said. "Abi's phenomenal, she's a D1 pitcher for a reason. Our girls battled. Defensively, we were great, pitching we were great, offensively, we lagged behind a little bit."

The other ball in play was a groundout in the fifth to shortstop Mackenzie Monahan.

"You gotta play, in a way small ball," Spotts said of the approach offensively when facing an elite pitcher. "Their defense generally doesn't have to work a whole lot when she's on the mound. Just shorten your swing, put something in play and make their defense work."

The Campers (2-0) struck first in the top of the third inning.

Gallagher, a UMBC signee, recorded an infield single off of the third baseman's glove.

On the next at-bat, Monahan sent a fly ball to dead center for a two-run home run.

One pitch later, Britton (Penn State) sent a line drive to right center for a double.

"That does everything for it," Winner said of creating momentum. "To get a lead on a good team, put a little pressure on them helps. The home run was huge and then we got Abi out there."

Back-to-back groundouts stranded Britton at third, keeping Allegany's lead at 2-0.

The Campers added a run in the fifth.

Britton sent a ball right back to the pitcher into center field for a hit.

With Britton on third after a fielder's choice, Sky Porter singled to right, extending Allegany's lead to 3-0.

Still trailing by three heading into the seventh, Keyser made one last rally.

With two outs in the top of the seventh, a fly ball to center field had the distance to clear the fence.

However, Porter made the catch on the warning track, robbing a potential home run.

"That was huge, even though it was a 3-0 game, the momentum shift in that was great," Spotts said. "That brought a whole new life to the dugout."

In the bottom of the seventh, the first two batters struck out.

Tayler Likens stepped up and on a 2-0 count sent a line drive to center field.

It just cleared the fence for a solo home run, cutting the Tornado deficit to 3-1.

"It kept us in the game," Spotts said. "It was gonna be tough, but she kept us alive."

It also broke up both a potential perfect game and no-hitter for Britton; however, she ended the game with a strikeout on the next at-bat.

Britton finished with 20 strikeouts against 22 batters.

"It's awesome to have a pitcher like that," Winner said. "It really gives you a good feeling if you get three or four runs. You're gonna have a chance to win every game."

Gallagher and Monahan each had two hits as the Campers combined for nine.

While Britton was the headliner, Keyser starter Rylee Mangold also stood out on the mound.

She went four innings, allowed five hits, two runs and a walk with six strikeouts.

"On the mound, she was fine," Spotts said. "One changeup she hung, that was it. Other than that, she did what she needed to do."

Leighton Johnson pitched the final three innings, allowing four hits, a run and a walk with a strikeout.

Allegany hosts University on Monday at 5 p.m., and Keyser welcomes Fort Hill on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at jkendall@times-news.com.