Salem falls in pitchers' duel

CONYERS - The Salem softball team dropped a close contest Tuesday to visiting Monroe Area by a score of 2-1 at Seminole Field.

After five scoreless innings, Salem struck first in the sixth. Jessica Vason smacked a double off the top of the outfield fence. Kristi Allbritten followed with an RBI single, making it 1-0.

However, Monroe Area plated two runs in the top of the seventh to secure the win.

"It was rough," Salem coach Stephanie Bassett said. "I thought we were going to be able to pull it out."

Alyssa Essington pitched five strong innings for the Lady Seminoles. She allowed no runs and struck out one.

Salem's Meghan Campbell had two doubles.


WBC forces spring training to start early

NEW YORK - Spring training is expanding by nearly a week next year because of the World Baseball Classic.

Players will start reporting to training camps on Feb. 14, under an agreement between the players' association and the commissioner's office. Exhibition games will start about Feb. 25.

In most years, pitchers and catchers open workouts 45 days before opening day followed by position players five days later. Under that schedule, workouts would not have begun until Feb. 20.

Braves' minor league pitcher suspended

NEW YORK - Atlanta Braves minor league pitcher Matthew Small was suspended for 50 games Tuesday after testing positive for a banned amphetamine.

The penalty will take effect at the start of next season.

The 20-year-old righty was 1-2 with a 2.55 ERA this year in 13 relief appearances with Danville of the Appalachian Rookie League.