Winning is name of the game for Kims

May 02, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Terri May and Barbara Ruprecht have plenty to chat about over the office water cooler.

"We talk about the battle of the Kims," said Terri May. "It's funny that the two of us work in the same place. It really is a small world."

The Kims are their daughters, the top two pitchers in Howard County high school softball. Kim May is the ace for No. 8 Centennial (10-2) and Kim Ruprecht, for No. 10 Atholton (9-3).

When the moms run into each other in the halls of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Scaggsville, the talk always turns to softball. At the games, however, the two sit on opposite sides.

For everyone involved though, this is the friendliest of rivalries.

"We don't know each other real well," said May, a second-team All-Metro pitcher. "But it's not like we hate each other. When we see each other, we talk. She's great."

May won the first battle of the Kims, 3-2, three weeks ago. Round two is scheduled for Wednesday when Atholton heads to Centennial. This could be a critical rematch since both teams are tied at the top of the county league at 6-1.

The two girls have very different personalities, but on the softball diamond, their progress has been almost identical.

Consider their current pitching statistics. May (10-2) has a 1.70 ERA, striking out 92 and walking 25 in 75 innings. Ruprecht (9-3) has a 2.40 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 33 walks in 73 innings.

May, who throws a little faster than Ruprecht, has honed her control without losing any speed.

"She can pretty much hit any target that she needs to," said Centennial coach Dale Huting. "Last year, she worked toward that kind of control, and this year, she started out with it and has been able to refine it."

However, Ruprecht has made even greater strides with her control dropping down from an average of about six walks a game last year.

"She's probably a little bit ahead of her strike-out pace," said Atholton coach Dave Vitagliano.

Both also contribute offensively, but here is where Ruprecht has the edge, earning All-Metro first-team honors last season as the designated hitter. Still this time, their stats are pretty close.

Ruprecht is batting .300 with 16 RBIs and a home run. May hits .371 with 13 RBIs and five doubles.

Both are dedicated to the sport, practicing for hours in the off-season to improve their speed, control and repertoire of pitches.

"Putting that extra effort into it is the only way to get better," said Ruprecht. "If I want to be that much faster and be that much better, I've got to work hard toward it."

Most of the time, their catchers are their fathers, Jim May and Joseph Ruprecht.

"That's what you see with pitchers," said Vitagliano. "The dad's always there, because you've got to have somebody."

Jim May even started the Howard County Fast Pitch League to give the younger girls a chance to adjust to the game before they get to high school. Both Kims started out in slo-pitch but made the move to fast pitch a couple years before high school.

These days, the Kims only take a vacation from softball during the fall when they concentrate on different sports -- May on field hockey and Ruprecht on volleyball.

But softball is their No. 1 sport, and both hope to play in college.

Both Kims showed up at Mount St. Mary's last weekend for an open house for high school juniors. They ended up touring together, even though neither knew the other was going to be there.

That news never made it to the water cooler.

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