Ruprecht, Atholton escape, 6-2 Sophomore pitcher foils Mount Hebron Softball

April 24, 1993|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Contributing Writer

Atholton sophomore Kim Ruprecht thrives on pressure.

Yesterday, the Raiders' top pitcher displayed her composure in helping Atholton (7-3, 6-0) beat Mount Hebron, 6-2, to maintain a share of the Howard County lead with Centennial.

Ruprecht's pitching, in which she mixes strikeouts with wild pitches with equal frequency, may add several gray hairs to Atholton coach Dave Vitagliano before the season ends.

"Like Baltimore's Gregg Olson, she puts runners on, but she leaves them out there, most of the time," Vitagliano said after Ruprecht stranded six Vikings runners, five in scoring position.

Earning her seventh win of the season against two losses, she struck out seven Vikings in seven innings. She gave up five hits, walked four and threw three wild pitches.

"At 3-0, she seems able to throw a strike at will," Vitagliano said of his pitching ace, who has struck out 81 in 63 innings. "She doesn't throw hard, like a Jody Meitl, but her location helps her. LTC She rarely throws the ball down the middle of the plate."

After Ruprecht set down Mount Hebron (1-4, 0-4) in order in the top of the first inning, Atholton leadoff hitter Stacey Williams delivered a triple over left fielder Heather Cole's head. Freshman Lea Nichols drove in Williams with a grounder to shortstop Sandy Lewis.

Mount Hebron sophomore Jenny Joyce then engaged in a pitching duel with Ruprecht. They gave up just two hits and one run combined through four innings.

The Vikings mounted serious threats in the fourth and sixth innings but came away empty.

Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Mount Hebron had runners at second and third with just one out. However, Ruprecht caught Cole looking for a strikeout and senior catcher Amy Mina picked off Mount Hebron's Brandee Eckstrom at third to end the threat.

"Last year I got frustrated with myself, but this year I've learned to control my emotions and say, 'Hey, I've got a team behind me that's going to back me up,' " Ruprecht said.

In the bottom of the fifth, Atholton pushed two more runs across as Ruprecht (.378, 16 RBI) aided her own cause by delivering an RBI single and scoring on Mina's single to center field.

Ruprecht created another interesting situation in the bottom of the sixth, as Joyce and Kristen Milio singled. One out and a wild pitch later and the Vikings were threatening to tie the game.

But Ruprecht induced Mount Hebron's Jaime Brehm to pop up to second baseman Stacey Williams and Cole was thrown out at first as she attempted to squeeze Joyce home.

The Vikings broke through for two runs in the seventh on a fielder's choice and Joyce's RBI single, but it wasn't enough.

"We've got some good experienced players. We just need to play some ballgames," Mount Hebron coach Harry Reese said. "We are capable of hitting well."

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