Mt. Hebron rolls 4-ward to title game

May 25, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Four has been the lucky number for Mount Hebron in the playoffs.

Fourth seed in the regionals, the No. 7 Vikings knocked off top-seed and defending champion Centennial in the opening round.

Seeded fourth again in the state final four, the Vikings edged No. 11 and top-seeded Bel Air, 4-3, in nine innings in a Class 3A semifinal last night at Randazzo Park near Glen Burnie.

Kathy Kiersarsky scored the game winner when Bobcats third baseman Sherri Godbee couldn't handle Megan Christensen's infield grounder.

The Vikings (15-6) will make their first appearance in the title game Friday night at 8 at Randazzo Park. They will meet second-seeded Thomas Johnson, a 3-2 winner over McDonough in last night's other Class 3A semifinal.

First-year coach Eric Aronowsky has his team riding a five-game winning streak into the championship game.

"It's all about confidence," said Aronowsky, whose team finished fourth in the Howard County league. "It all started with that win overAtholton [7-6 in eight innings]. They're riding that wave of confidence. Now they know they're a good team."

Being seeded fourth has not hurt, said Vikings pitcher Jenny Joyce.

"We had nothing to lose, same as going into regionals against Centennial. We were psyched and we never gave up," said the junior right-hander, who pitched a no-hitter against City in Saturday's regional final.

After Bel Air scored three runs on one hit and three Vikings errors in the fifth inning, Joyce retired 12 of the last 13 Bobcats.

The Vikings' defense took care of the other one.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Bel Air's Shelby Robbins blasted a double just over center fielder Heather Cole's head. But Cole gunned a perfect throw to third baseman Kristen Milio to catch Robbins trying to stretch out a triple.

Bel Air coach Valerie Cooper said Robbins had the green light, but Cole's throw reached third well ahead of Robbins.

Joyce walked the next batter, but got Danielle Rohde to fly out to left fielder Becky Miller to seal the victory.

Bel Air (19-2) came into last night's game riding a 16-game winning streak. The Bobcats also had one of the area's top pitchers in Amy Finlayson, a hard-throwing 5-10 right-hander, who had posted 178 strikeouts in 122 innings with just 16 walks.

But the Vikings didn't let Finlayson overwhelm them. Sara Eberhart smacked a first-inning RBI triple to put Mount Hebron quickly ahead 1-0.

Miller drove in two more in the fourth to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead.

Joyce, who came in with a 1.26 ERA and 14 walks and 119 strikeouts in 129 innings, turned in another steady performance. She gave up six hits, struck out three and walked only two.

She pulled herself out of a couple of early jams, including no outs and bases loaded in the second and one out and two on in the fourth inning.

"We've worked really hard and it's time that this has come to us," said Milio, the only Viking who played on the 1990 team that lost, 10-0, to Damascus in the state semifinals. "When they pulled even it would have been really easy for us to give up, but we were pretty confident we could come back."

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