You have to be on your toes when playing in a one-pitch softball tourney
And the Woodbine Curves stood a little higher on theirs this weekend than did the other five teams in the Wild Stallions women's softball tournament at the Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.
The Curves won five of six games to capture the triple-elimination affair, topping Random House, 7-1, in Sunday afternoon's finale forthe clincher.
Woodbine manager Dick Fogle, who said his Curves haven't won a tournament in two years, was understandably elated.
"It's been a long time. I'm thrilled to death," he said.
One-pitch is a slow-pitch softball offshoot requiring nerves of steel for both pitcher and batter.
If the batter takes that one pitch for a ball, she walks. If it's a called strike, a swing and a miss, or foul ball,she is out.
Pitchers must throw strikes.
Woodbine won Saturdaymorning's opener, 1-0, over Random House, as pitcher Linda Clutter allowed only three hits, and Donna Fleming plated the game's only run with a sixth-inning single.
Sandy Williams gave up only four hits in a losing cause.
Woodbine then parlayed 18 walks into a 17-0 thrashing of the Renegades in game two, and beat Plunkert Construction, 7-2.
Woodbine followed by blasting Random House, 13-2, breaking open a close game with a nine-run sixth inning.
Random House then held on to beat Woodbine, 7-6, before succumbing in the finale, in which Linda Smith's grand slam and Angie Falise's two-run homer powered the winners.
In individual events, the Stallions' Belinda Brown beat about 20 others in the accurate-throw contest, in which balls were thrown from the outfield to home plate.
Then, after tying Woodbine's Terry Leatherwood in the base-running event to see who could circle the bases fastest, Brown lost to Leatherwood by one-tenth of a second in the run-off sprint from home to first base.
Random House's Lydia Costas won the home-run hitting contest.
The Carroll County Stars girls basketball team has only been around since mid-March.
But this batch of 11-year-olds has already made a name for itselfthat nobody connected with the team will ever forget.
The Stars recently won the Amateur Athletic Union's Maryland State basketball championship for girls 11 and under after sweeping four AAU tournament games.
The Stars clinched the title April 28 with a 28-26 win in Annapolis over the Waves, an Anne Arundel County team.
They now look forward to the AAU national championships June 22-29 in Orlando, Fla.
Parents and friends will have to raise $10,000 or more to send them there.
John Wagener, who assists his daughter Cheri in coaching the Stars, said this is the first time a Carroll squad has won an AAU state crown.
Probably nobody dreamed that could happen when Cheri formed the squad after the regular basketball season ended.
After coaching a Mount Airy team in the Carroll County Girls BasketballLeague, she decided to hand-pick a group of players from her team and several others in the league for AAU competition.
"The major reason was to give them some extra competitive experience," John said.
The nine players, mostly residents of the Mount Airy and Westminster areas, had little time to practice after Cheri assembled them for the first time in mid-March.
The first game was April 6.
"We hadno idea how stiff the competition would be," John remembers. "We'd never seen what we'd be up against, but we thought we'd be competitive."
That turned out to be one of the bigger understatements in recent memory.
The Stars overcame a five-point deficit in the final four minutes of the opener in Annapolis to top Chesapeake, 29-26.
The following day, they stopped the Waves, 38-30, as Cara Consuegra had17 points and Shannon Henley 16.
On April 14, the Stars blasted Annapolis, 32-17, as Ce Wagener led the way with 13 points.
They then faced the Waves again, with the Waves having to win twice to take the title.
The Waves appeared well on their way to that first victory, as they led by 13 points with only four minutes left in the game.
But the Stars, behind a ball-hawking defense and balanced scoring, would not be denied.
Henley's jumper with less than a minute remaining put the Stars ahead for good, 27-25.
"In the short time they've been together they've done a fantastic job," said John's wife, Donna, who is helping to coordinate fund-raising.
Team supporters plan to sell pizzas, ask businesses for help and work at area carnivals this summer to make money.
What else will the youngsters do between now and late June besides fund-raising?
"A lot of practice," said John, laughing.
Those wishing to help can call Donna or John at 795-5513.