No. 1 Cougars victorious behind untested pitchers

April 09, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

With a ranked opponent awaiting his softball team yesterday, Chesapeake coach Dennis Thiele handed the ball to a sophomore who never had thrown a pitch for the varsity.

Then in the fifth inning, he gave it to a freshman.

A risky approach, to be sure, but Thiele made the right decision -- both times.

Shelley Congdon allowed just two hits in five innings, and Nicole Carpenter retired the last six batters, as host No. 1 Chesapeake extended its winning streak to 44 games with a 5-0 victory over No. 12 Arundel.

Senior Jaime Long, the Cougars' primary starter, pitched seven innings the day before and struck out 10 in a 2-0 victory over No. 3 Severna Park. Her arm needed a rest. And Thiele needed someone else to shoulder the load.

"I've got to be grinning from ear to ear," he said. "I decided to give those two kids a shot today. They showed me a lot in the gym, they looked pretty good in warm-ups, but this is the workplace, this is the proving ground right here. And both of them threw very well.

"I felt Shelley had paid her dues last year on JV, and it was only right to start her ahead of the ninth-grader. It was the only way to go. I gave her the first shot, and I told them, 'You two are going today, and if it gets late and we have a slim lead, I may throw Jaime in just to shut them down and get the win and get out of here. But I don't intend to do that if the game's going our way.' And the offense came through for me today."

Congdon, whose sister, Lori, was a two-time All-Metro pitcher, put runners on base in each inning except the third. She threw 75 pitches, walking five and striking out eight.

Shannon Noon singled to lead off the fourth, and Kara Kitchen drew a walk, but Congdon struck out the next three batters.

Her first serious jam was behind her. Another was on the way.

In the fifth, walks to Heidi Motzer and Marcia Lavin and a single by Ruth Wilson loaded the bases with one out. Noon grounded into a force at home -- with catcher Kim Woody scooping out a throw in the dirt -- and Kitchen lined to second.

Thiele brought in Carpenter for the last two innings, and she needed just 17 pitches to finish off the Wildcats (2-1). She struck out two batters looking, and no one got the ball out of the infield.

Chesapeake (3-0) scored four runs in the third inning off Kitchen, who allowed five hits, struck out four and walked none.

Sophomore Jen Fowlkes led off by grounding a single to center, and the next two batters laid down bunts that Arundel failed to turn into outs, loading the bases. Senior Michelle Manner then lined single to right for a 2-0 lead.

With runners on second and third and one out, Long sent a fly ball to the gap in right-center field that Jen Skolochenko ran down for the second out. Maggie Dziuban tagged up and scored from third, and when the Wildcats were slow to get the ball back to the infield, Manner came around from second.

"I didn't think I was going the whole way until [Thiele] said, 'Go,' and then I just sprinted as fast as I could," said Manner, who singled twice. "We're really aggressive on the base paths."

Chesapeake added to its lead in the fifth when Manner bunted for a hit with one out, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.

The turning point, Arundel coach Paul Yannuzzi said, came in the third inning, when his team couldn't execute on the Chesapeake bunts.

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