North Carroll's Lippy makes strong pitch for consistency

May 13, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

One thing clearly separates North Carroll and the rest of Carroll County's high school softball teams this season -- pitching.

Junior Kandi Lippy grew up watching her father's fast-pitch team and her two older brothers who played the game. She began playing slow-pitch in the second grade and started pitching fast-pitch in the seventh.

After a sophomore season in which she improved with every game to help lead the Panthers to a state playoff appearance, Lippy is now the foundation of an 11-6 team that is making a run at the region playoffs.

"There's no question the pitcher is the key to everything. It's the most dominant position on the field," said North Carroll first-year coach Rich Harvey.

"Consistent is the exact word that comes to mind when you talk about Kandi. As a coach, it's nice to know you always have a pitcher like Kandi. I always know what I can expect from her."

What Harvey has come to expect from Lippy is a pitcher who will throw strikes and give the Panthers a chance to win. More times than not, they have.

Last week, Lippy and the Panthers came up with back-to-back shutout wins.

On Thursday, they shut out a Westminster team that entered the season with the most potent offensive lineup in the county. The 15-0 final gave the Panthers the county title.

For good measure, Lippy threw a one-hit shutout the next day in a 10-0 win over South Carroll to give the Panthers an 8-0 mark in county play. The last time North Carroll was unbeaten in the county -- three years ago -- also was the last time it won a state crown.

Lippy has pitched in every inning for the Panthers this season.

"You get good recognition when you win, and when you lose, you get that recognition -- it's good or bad," Lippy said.

"I had a tendency to get a little wild at times last year and walks were a major problem. But I got a lot of experience from last year and it has helped this season. I know what to look for and know who the better hitters are."

Lippy throws a fastball and change and is hoping to add a curve and drop ball for her senior season. During the off-season, she attends a pitching clinic in Catonsville.

She's also been a bonus at the plate. Harvey used a designated hitter for her in the early part of the season, but now she is among the team leaders in hitting, batting around .400.

"Early in the year, I DH'd for her because she was pressing some in practice," Harvey said.

"The first time I put her in the lineup she hit the ball pretty well and has been hitting the ball ever since. She's not a power hitter, but chips in with a lot of singles and has added a lot to our lineup batting seventh in the order."

For Lippy, who also plays volleyball and basketball for the Panthers, there's nothing better than springtime.

"I was brought up with softball; it's the big thing in our family," she said.

"I started out in slow-pitch when I was younger, but really enjoy fast-pitch. There's just a lot more into it."

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