Glenelg avenges loss, tops Atholton, 3-2

May 07, 1994|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Special to The Sun

After Chuck Struhar's No. 8 Glenelg rallied to score two runs in the top of the seventh for a 3-2 win over No. 9 Atholton yesterday, the Gladiators coach joked about how he knew his team "had a victory all along."

Glenelg got revenge after losing to the Raiders, 4-3, last month. The Gladiators were a 5-0 winners over Atholton in the Raiders' spring tournament championship game.

The victory kept Glenelg (12-2, 8-1) tied with Centennial for first place in the county with the pair to meet Tuesday. Atholton (11-4, 7-2), missing two starters yesterday, dropped into second in the county.

"We knew coming into this season we would probably meet four times," said Atholton coach Dave Vitigliano, who was without freshman catcher Shannon Eierman (high fever) and senior first baseman Stacie Valentine (death in the family).

"We were hoping to play them a fourth time here, but it really doesn't matter."

Struhar did not expect that the lower end of Glenelg's batting lineup would be able to solve Atholton starting junior pitcher Kim Ruprecht (11-4, 108 strikeouts) when it counted. But that's exactly what happened in the seventh.

With Glenelg having collected just three hits in six innings, Gladiator junior Susan Geisler led off the seventh with a single, her second of the game. Pinch runner Bethany Carroll advanced to third on senior Lauren Doyle's bunt and scored the tying run on an Atholton throwing error, the first of three in the inning.

Carroll, who advanced to second on senior Robin Ruppalt's sacrifice bunt, scored on Holly Degner's double to right-center field.

Glenelg senior pitcher Emily Kessler retired Atholton batters in order in the seventh. She had eight strikeouts in the four-hitter.

"I know this is biased, but I think Emily is the best pitcher in the county without question," Struhar said. "She doesn't walk anybody. She shows no emotion on the mound. Who can tell if she's nervous?"

Struhar said Kessler's statistics underscore how control can take a pitcher to the top of the game. Entering yesterday, Kessler had faced 271 batters, walking just nine while striking out 57 to maintain a 1.91 ERA.

Kessler walked only Raider second baseman Stacy Williams in the fifth inning, only to have Ruppalt, the Gladiator catcher, throw out Williams attempting to steal second base.

"I only had a little trouble in that inning, but Robin knows what to do back behind the plate and she helped me out," said Kessler, who held in check a Raider team batting .334. "I was really nervous that last inning, which is the first case of nerves that I've had on the mound since we played Centennial the first time."

Kessler's only mistake was a 2-2 pitch in the second inning to Ruprecht, who connected for a 230-foot home run over the right-center field fence for a 1-0 lead.

"Robin called for an outside pitch and I ended up throwing it right down the middle," said Kessler, who improved her record to 2-1 against Ruprecht and Atholton this season.

Atholton's early lead grew to 2-0 when sophomore Carolyn Wilson, who led off the third with a single and stole two bases, scored on senior Lisa Murphy's single to right.

Glenelg pulled to within 2-1 in the top of the fourth when junior Kim Brown singled and later scored on Michelle Brown's double to center.

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