Northeast can't beat distractions Softball

April 15, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Marianne Shultz keeps telling her Northeast Eagles to concentrate on softball, no matter how difficult the task.

It was essential for the Eagles to do so yesterday with a game at No. 15 and undefeated Glen Burnie. But the recent distractions and a mistake-filled third inning proved too much for No. 7 Northeast, as Glen Burnie prevailed, 4-3.

This was Northeast's first game since last Thursday's arrest of coach Ron Price on charges that he sexually abused a 16-year-old female student. Shultz, a varsity assistant, was named acting head coach Tuesday night by athletic director Roger Stitt.

"I think they were still pretty much distracted," said Shultz, who also serves as Northeast's junior varsity coach. "When they got off the bus, they were still talking about things that had happened and things people had said. Certain people were making comments directed to the team, so we tried to keep everybody away from the bench that wasn't associated with the team."

On Tuesday, the Eagles conducted their first practice since the arrest and "tried to just focus on plays and routine fundamentals," Shultz said.

"We reiterated 'ground balls, fly balls.' We spent a lot of time just keeping them on track," she said.

Having to face Glen Burnie, a traditional Class 4A power, made it that much more difficult for the Eagles (3-2), who hadn't played since a 13-1 win over Meade last Wednesday.

Northeast scored twice in the top of the third inning on a fielder's-choice grounder from catcher Velvet Farrell and a bloop single to right by outfielder Robin Konrad. But Glen Burnie (3-0) pushed across four unearned runs in its half of the inning and held on for the win.

Laurie Kuzcinski and Denise Warren reached on errors -- Warren after a dropped third strike -- and Kuzcinski scored from second on a grounder by catcher Lori Lynch. A wild pitch from junior Loren Bailey tied the score at 2, and sophomore pitcher Samantha Miller followed with a home run to left field.

Miller held up at third base, but raced home when she saw that the Eagles were slow getting the ball back to the infield.

Coral Brandenburg singled to right, and Susan Kroedel delivered Glen Burnie's fourth run with a double to right-center.

Konrad led off the sixth inning with a single to left, moved to second on a ground out, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bailey. First baseman Chastity Gorden singled to right and moved to second on a wild pitch, but Miller (2-0) got out of the inning.

Northeast shortstop Jennifer Johansen singled with two outs in the seventh, but Glen Burnie first baseman Crystal Ford made a leaping grab of Farrell's soft liner to end the game.

"I was real proud of the girls; they hung tough," said Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino. "When [Northeast] went ahead, 2-0, that was the first time in two games that we've been behind. They could have panicked or choked, but they didn't."

"It was odd playing [Northeast] today," he said, referring to the recent controversy. "I was glad we could play softball and that nothing else creeped into it. That was nice. This game is for the kids and it's got to be fun."

Johansen thinks it will become easier for the Eagles to heed Shultz's advice and concentrate on softball.

"Our heads weren't in the game in the beginning," she said, "but as it progressed, our team decided they wanted to play ball, and we did. It was after we all got together and said, 'Who cares about anything else. Softball is it.' That's what we're doing."

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