IND upsets Spalding, takes title Softball

May 12, 1993|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Before yesterday, Archbishop Spalding had won four straight Catholic League tournament titles, all of which came at the expense of the Institute of Notre Dame.

IND senior pitcher Christa Engleman had been there for three, so she was determined not to let a few ailments prevent her from pitching against the second-ranked and top-seeded Cavaliers in yesterday's championship game.

Engleman, playing with strep throat, sinus and ear infections and a large blister on her left foot, pitched a four-hitter to lead No. 5 and second-seeded IND to a 2-0 upset of Spalding at McDonogh.

"To split with Spalding [during the regular season] was really gratifying, but this is the icing on the cake," said IND coach Sandy Altadonna, whose team had been outscored 20-3 in the previous two tournament finals.

It seemed unlikely that IND (14-3) would be celebrating a championship yesterday. The Indians, winners of 13 straight, had been down to their last out before rallying to defeat McDonogh, 5-4, in Monday's semifinal.

"The momentum started [Monday], and we picked it up today," Engleman said.

Engleman said she used her weakened condition to her advantage yesterday.

"I think I was able to concentrate more on pitching," she said. "I wasn't trying to worry about being sick. . . ."

Engleman had just three strikeouts, but she retired 15 batters on ground outs and her infield played flawlessly behind her. Freshman third baseman Robyn Johnson led the way with eight assists.

Spalding junior pitcher Rachel Synowski was not as fortunate.

She gave up just four hits and struck out 10, but the Cavaliers (16-3) committed four errors -- including three in the first inning and two on the game's first play -- and both runs were unearned.

"She had a normal Synowski outing," Spalding coach Jim Nemeth said. "Both runs were unearned again. She's pitched 91 2/3 innings and given up just two earned runs this year.

"I'd be a liar if I said I was real pleased with our effort, but in the long run, I'm very proud of them."

Tiffany Wilkinson opened the game with a grounder to Spalding second baseman Crystal Henderson, who misplayed the ball and then overthrew first baseman Carrie Parsons. Wilkinson then stole third and came home when catcher Dana Fidazzo's throw went into left field.

The Indians scored again in the fourth. Kristin Ehrman led off with a triple and scored when Henderson's attempt to throw out her out got past third baseman Kathleen Legg.

Spalding's best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the first after Kelly Mabe singled with one out, went to second on an error by left fielder Kelly Pryce and advanced to third on a wild pitch. But Engleman got Synowski to pop out and Parsons to ground out to end the threat.

The Cavaliers brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh after Legg doubled down the left-field line with one out, but she never advanced past second.

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