Glenelg gets out of jam, gets past Centennial, 1-0

May 11, 1994|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Special to The Sun

When No. 8 Glenelg last faced visiting Centennial 11 days ago, thunder and rain suspended the game between the county's two top teams in the top of the fourth inning.

Possessing a 1-0 lead against Centennial, Glenelg starting pitcher Emily Kessler faced a bases-loaded, one-out situation with Eagles sophomore catcher Brittany Deuchler at the plate.

"Well, at least we've got some days to work out a strategy to get out of this jam," Glenelg coach Chuck Struhar joked at the time with assistant coach Christine Meyers.

To help the Gladiators' chances, Struhar broke out his pair of lucky batting gloves from the closet shoebox yesterday morning to put in his jacket pocket during the game. Struhar also had his Gladiators infielders and Kessler run through the bases-loaded situation during practice in the last week.

Glenelg's charm-and-practice combination worked. Kessler escaped the jam on six pitches, allowing no runs on the way to completing a regular-season sweep of No. 7 Centennial (14-3, 10-2) with a 1-0 victory.

The win by Glenelg (14-2, 10-1) gave the Gladiators sole possession of first place, placing the Gladiators in the position to capture the county title with three games remaining. Centennial, getting a one-hitter from losing senior pitcher Kim May, dropped to second in the league.

"Nobody is blaming anyone for this loss," said Centennial's Deuchler. "If we had started this game from the beginning, we would've had

a better chance of winning."

Girls softball, however, plays continuation of a suspended game, and for that rule, Struhar is thankful.

"Kim May was smoking [the ball]," Struhar said. "We weren't going to score a run off her today."

After Kessler wiggled out of the fourth-inning predicament by inducing a comebacker to her for a forceout at home plate and a strikeout, the Gladiators senior pitcher set down the Eagles in order in the fifth and sixth innings.

"It was real easy after getting out of that situation," Kessler said. "During practice, Coach Struhar set up the situation a lot and had me pitch. Basically everything that could have happened did in practice."

May, coming off a sub-par victory against No. 9 Atholton on Monday, established a nearly unhittable fastball in the bottom of the fourth inning. Employing a grunt with each hard windmill toss, May struck out four of the first five Gladiators hitters. The county's winningest pitcher (14-3) retired all nine Glenelg batters, using just 27 pitches.

May (2-for-3 batting) faced only 20 Glenelg hitters in six innings, just two over the minimum.

"I was moving my glove all over, inside and outside," Deuchler said. "Kim was hitting every spot.

"Unfortunately, this game was so different because when we don't score in a bases-loaded situation, we normally go back out to the field thinking we have six more innings to play. Today we had just three. Before we knew it, we were in the top of the seventh."

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