Darkness leaves Centennial, Glenelg tied up

April 01, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

The Centennial Eagles and the Glenelg Gladiators expect to battle once again this spring for the county softball championship, although they didn't figure to meet yesterday under such adverse conditions.

Thanks to the lingering, inclement weather of recent weeks, yesterday marked the season opener for both teams, who already have had their first three games postponed. Neither team even played a preseason scrimmage.

And after battling for eight innings on a chilly, windy, overcast afternoon, both teams remain in search of their first victory. With the score tied at 3-3, the game was suspended due to darkness. The final outcome may be decided later this season, should the game carry any meaning for either team.

"For a first game, you couldn't ask for a better game," Glenelg coach Chuck Struhar said. "We've had no scrimmages, it's freezing, and we played a nice team. We did the best we could, and I thought we played well."

The Gladiators played exceptionally well for six innings. After Centennial combined two singles and two groundouts against pitcher Lyndsay Smyth to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, Smyth shut out the Eagles over the next four innings, while allowing just two baserunners, one via an infield error.

Glenelg took a 2-1 lead in the fourth by manufacturing two runs without a hit, then added another run in the fifth. When Centennial came to bat in the top of the seventh, Glenelg appeared ready to lock up a 3-1 victory.

But Smyth tired in her first start. She opened the inning by walking Jeannine Lee and Meghan Seewagen, then allowed them to advance to second and third base on a wild pitch. Centennial pitcher Kim May followed with a grounder to third baseman Diana Rolfs, whose errant throw caromed off first baseman Jodi Kielman. Lee scored to close the gap to 3-2.

The Gladiators held off Centennial temporarily on the next play. Kelly Garrity laid down a perfect bunt. With Seewagen running home as the tying run, Rolfs flipped the ball to catcher Robin Ruppalt, who tagged out Seewagen to preserve the lead. That didn't last long. Kelly Butler drew a walk, and Keri Chichester drove May home with an infield hit to tie the game.

"Lyndsay just got tired in the seventh. You could tell by the way the ball was coming in so high," Struhar said. "Had she not gotten tired, we probably win. She has to put them away. She has to get that killer instinct. That will come. She's going to be a good one."

Each team had a chance to win in extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Kathy Gallagher lined Smyth's first pitch into center field for a single, then took second on a sacrifice bunt by Lee. Smyth slammed the door on the Eagles after that by retiring Seewagen and May.

Glenelg then staged a two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth. Ruppalt blooped a single down the right-field line. Donna Snyder walked. But May struck out Lauren Doyle to end that threat.

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