Atholton ousts South River, 4-1

May 25, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Kim Ruprecht's first inning of pitching in a state playoff game included three consecutive singles and a run.

If that was a sign of nerves for the Atholton junior, it was a brief one. Gone at the blink of an eye.

Just like South River's chances of advancing in the tournament.

Ruprecht retired 20 of the last 22 batters to out-duel South River's Mandy McLaughlin in a 4-1 victory yesterday in the Class 2A state semifinals at Randazzo Park.

The second-seeded and No. 6-ranked Raiders (17-6) will meet top-seeded Damascus, a 3-0 winner over fourth-seeded Elkton, in Friday's 6 p.m. final.

"We didn't know what states were going to be like, so we just came to play our best game, and that's just what we did," said Ruprecht, who allowed four hits, struck out 11 and walked none.

She mostly threw her riser, but began mixing in a changeup that had South River guessing wrong all afternoon. The Seahawks didn't hit the ball out of the infield after the first.

Singles by Tara Andrews, Chiara Lee and Amy Perry had given South River (13-8) a 1-0 lead.

Ruprecht then set down 12 in a row with eight strikeouts before Marj Callaghan reached on an infield hit with one out in the fifth.

Perry was safe on an error and stole second in the sixth inning, but Ruprecht struck out Amy Henshaw to end the threat. She retired the Seahawks in order in the seventh, extending Atholton's first visit to the states.

"Typically, she gets stronger as she goes on," said coach Dave Vitagliano.

"The kids know she gets stronger and we hit better as we go along. And I felt like we hit the ball pretty well all day. They were pretty confident when we got out of that inning with only one run."

McLaughlin also ran into trouble in the first inning, giving up two runs on three hits.

Stacey Williams doubled to left with one out, moved to third on an infield hit by Lisa Murphy and scored on a bouncer to the mound by Kelly Stewart.

Ruprecht brought home Murphy when she grounded a single past diving shortstop Lauren Evans.

The Seahawks turned a 6-4-3 double play to close the second inning, but Atholton scored a run in the third when Callaghan dropped a sinking liner in left with two outs and Chrissy Gavin on third.

The Raiders got another unearned run in the fifth on a groundout by Murphy that scored Carolyn Wilson, who had led off with a single and moved to third on a throwing error.

"Starting back as early as the summer, we felt like we had a shot at winning the regionals, and then we figured from there anything can happen," Vitagliano said. "We pretty much approached it all year as a mission."

McLaughlin gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out none.

"All of a sudden, it just fell apart," said Seahawk coach Corinne Weigand. "[Ruprecht's] a good pitcher, but not any better than anybody we've seen. She mixes it up well and you could just see the concentration in her eyes. You have to give her credit. She pitched a fantastic game."

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