Ruprecht pitches Atholton to first state tourney, 11-0

May 22, 1994|By Michael Richman | Michael Richman,Special to The Sun

It's hard to believe that the Class 2A, South Region championship was a "typical" softball performance for Atholton pitcher Kim Ruprecht.

But that's what her coach, Dave Vitagliano, said after Ruprecht allowed three hits and struck out 11 batters, leading the No. 9 Raiders to their first state tournament with an 11-0 shutout of Surrattsville of Prince George's County yesterday.

Ruprecht, a junior, permitted two hits in the first inning -- when the Hornets built one of two threats -- and retired 17 of the final 22 batters. Unlike past games, in which the right-hander has mixed pitches, she said she relied on an effective fastball yesterday to frustrate Surrattsville.

"She threw well today, no doubt," Vitagliano said. "But today was pretty typical in terms of her control, velocity. She's not going to strike out this many typically, but everything else was pretty typical."

Ruprecht's record is 16-6, identical to her team that begins play in the state tourney Tuesday at Randazzo Field in Anne Arundel County.

She admitted this was not her best 1994 showing, putting Atholton's 5-4 win over Glenelg in the regional semifinal a notch above. Her confidence grew, she said, as the Raiders created leads of 3-0 in the fourth inning, 9-0 in the sixth, and 11-0 in the seventh.

"Sometimes, when I feel I have runs behind me, I throw a little harder," she said. "I was really just using my fastball, it was working and they were a little behind it. I figured if I mix it up, they might get a hold of the off-speed pitches. I didn't want to take that chance."

Was Ruprecht the best pitcher Surrattsville (18-2) faced this season? "She was up there," said shortstop Shannon Welsh.

Ruprecht needed little help from her teammates at the plate. The Raiders singled five times off right-hander Brandy Nobbs (11-2).

But Surrattsville committed 11 errors, opening base paths for Atholton with poor throws, and misplayed and dropped balls.

Nobbs, in fact, had a no-hitter until Lisa Murphy singled in the fourth, when the Hornets began their string of errors.

"They seemed to lack concentration and we took advantage," Atholton junior shortstop Chrissy Gavin said of Surrattsville's fielding. "We use smart base running and we seem to know what to do in different situations."

This is the farthest Vitagliano has gone in seven years of coaching. He said he noticed his players were a bit subdued after winning.

"We came in this year feeling like we had a good chance to win the regional title," he said. "I say to the kids, 'Why no monster celebration?' They say, 'We're not done yet.' "

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