Archbishop Spalding's softball team continued its quest to repeat asBaltimore Catholic champions yesterday, turning away the Institute of Notre Dame, 5-2, at Upton Park in Severn.
Cavalier junior pitching ace Kim Sheridan, who has been given a respite from her pitching duties in two games this season, returned to the mound against the visitors from Baltimore and fired a two-hitter. She also tallied 10 strikeouts, raising her season total to 86.
In 47 innings thus far, Sheridan has given up only one run (in last week's 1-0 loss to Northeast) and three walks.
How, then, couldSpalding first-year coach Jim Nemeth dare not start her?
Simple. The Cavs don't miss a beat with senior Kerri Endler on the mound.
"They are equally excellent pitchers," said Nemeth, who Cavs now boast an 8-1 record overall, 4-0 in the Catholic League. "Kim is our bread and butter, but I like to give both of them the opportunityto pitch.
"Kerri is a senior and will be heading to college soon, so I like to showcase her a bit. She's an excellent pitcher in her own right.I don't have any problem with pitching either of them."
From her position at third base yesterday, Endler had a bird's eye view of Sheridan, who needed only 78 pitches to record her sixth victory of the season. Endler accepts her supporting role as a hurler and said she is thankful any time she gets the nod.
"I love to pitch, but I'll play wherever the team needs me," said Endler, who turned down an athletic scholarship to Drexel to attend Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va.
"All I want to do is see us win."
She got an eyeful yesterday.
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on an error, a wild pitch and a passed ball that scored shortstop Nicole Dunleavy.
Spalding picked up a second unearned run in the fourth inning when catcher Jen McKeldin, who reached on an error, crossed the plate following Endler's perfectly placed bunt down the first-baseline.
Spalding had a chance to add another run on a wild pitch in the fourth, but courtesy runner Kelli Fickes was thrown out at the plate.
The Cavaliers added three more runstheir next time up, however, courtesy of two hits, three errors and a wild pitch.
Left-fielder Rachel Synowski started things off witha bunt single and was moved to second by Jackie Cordery, who reachedon yet another IND miscue.
Amy Councilman's hardgrounder into thegap between third and short scored both runners, and an error by Indians second-baseman Kathleen Colgan allowed Councilman two extra bases. Another hard grounder by Sheridan brought Councilman home and gavethe Cavs a 5-0 lead.
IND took advantage of a defensive lapse by Spalding in the top of the sixth to score a pair of unearned runs. A wild throw to first base by Dunleavy helped the Indians escape a shutout and drew the interest of the scarce crowd.
The Cavaliers came up empty in their half of the inning, but Sheridan retired the side inthe seventh to remove any doubt of the game's outcome.
"It wasn'ta bad inning, but we made some mistakes," said Nemeth, whose team will travel to Catholic on Monday for a 3:45 p.m. matchup.
"The truequality of a good team is one that, once it makes a mistake, it doesn't compound it with more mistakes. We made a couple mistakes, but then, 'boom,' we corrected them."