The pitching artistry of Old Mill's Jen Bostak in yesterday's 5-1 softball victory over visiting Northeast was a thing of beauty.
Bostak, who said she used "about seven or eight" different pitches, fanned 11 batters while yielding just one hit and two walks as the Patriots improved to 3-0.
But the senior, who has accepted a full scholarship to Philadelphia's LaSalle University, didn't simply rely on the conventional steamrolling, mow-'em-down style used by many windmillers.
That, says Bostak, would be boring.
No, Bostak would rather give the home plate a paint job, alternating risers, change-ups, the straight fastball,and going inside and out.
"I like to mix my pitches up a lot," said Bostak, who improved to 2-0.
Bostak also singled for one of thePatriots' five hits against Eagles' starter Stacy Reynolds, who had three strikeouts and no walks before being relieved by Loren Bailey after five innings.
"I like to make the games exciting," said Bostak, who missed last season with a knee injury. "Let them hit the ball and rely on our defense."
It was Old Mill's defense, particularly junior second baseman Cindy Parulis, that caused the turnaround for the Patriots, who trailed, 1-0, after Bailey scored on an error in thesecond inning.
After the Patriots' Michelle Meredith tied the game at 1-1 by scoring on a third-inning error, Parulis played a pivotalrole in an uplifting double-play for her squad.
With Reynolds on first base and one out in the top of the fourth, Parulis, in only herthird varsity game, snagged a Robyn Konrad pop-up and quickly fired the ball to first baseman Karen Jacobson to pick off Reynolds.
"That was a big play -- anything that gets Cindy up is good," said Old Mill's first-year coach Lori Darnell. "She's a good player, better than she thinks. We're always trying to get her to believe that. Maybe now, she does."
But Parulis wasn't done yet.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, she smacked a long fly to center field that was dropped by Konrad. The error plated Bostak, who led the inning with a single and had stolen second.
Parulis then went to second on apassed ball and later made it 3-1, crossing the plate on Meredith's sacrifice bunt.
Chris Baer's fifth-inning double scored Lori Lynch, who also had doubled, before she came home on a passed ball for thePatriot's final run.
"I'm still pretty nervous with it being my first year on the team," said Parulis, who said she thought she had only a slim chance of even making the varsity squad. "It helps that I have a good team around me."
Despite the loss of eight starters from a team that won Northeast's fourth straight Class 2A state championship last year, opposing teams are discovering that the Eagles (3-2) are a better team than most had thought.
After losing their opening game, 15-0, to North County, coach Lynn Pitonzo's Eagles put together victories over Arundel, 3-2, Meade, 11-4, and previously unbeaten Glen Burnie, 2-1.
A third inning double-play offered a good example of how well the youthful squad is capable of playing.
With the Patriots' Lynch on third base, Reynolds put out Old Mill's Amy McKenzie on a come-backer, and sophomore Bailey picked off Lynch with a throw to home. Junior catcher Velvet Farrell tagged out Lynch.
"It's been two weeks since North County," said Pitonzo, in her 14th season. "Give us two more weeks."