Silver Bullets looking for hits

June 18, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

FREDERICK -- They showcased a softball-style pitcher who blanked the opposition for 3 1/3 innings, a defense that played respectably enough and a bench long on enthusiasm.

But the Colorado Silver Bullets, the first all-women pro baseball team, continued to suffer with a familiar malady last night before about 5,000 at Frederick's Grove Stadium.

They haven't learned how to hit.

"We have to find some way to score runs. That has been our biggest problem," said manager Phil Niekro after the Bullets' record dropped to 1-13 with a 3-1 defeat to the Rock Creek Ravens.

"We pitch all right, catch the ball and handle the fundamentals pretty good except for hitting the ball. But you have to remember that three months ago these players had never seen a curveball or slider."

Three Ravens' pitchers combined to no-hit the Bullets, who scored their only run in the five-inning game on a wild pickoff attempt with the bases loaded (via two walks and an error) by Ravens' catcher Bill Murray.

Rock Creek starter Will Hoffman then struck out Stacy Sunny with a curveball to end the Silver Bullets' one genuine scoring threat.

The game was called with two outs and no one on with the women's team batting in the top of the sixth.

The Ravens, part of the Washington Amateur Regional Baseball League, are composed primarily of former college players in their late 20s and early 30s.

It is the type of foe the Bullets have been playing lately after setting their sights too high initially.

Their opener on Mother's Day was a 19-0 shellacking by an all-star team from the Single-A Northern League.

The Ravens scored all of their runs on four of their five hits in the first two innings against Gina Satriano, daughter of former major-leaguer Tom Satriano. Two of the runs were unearned, the result of three errors.

But they did virtually nothing offensively against the underhanded dealings of Lisa Martinez, who al

lowed one hit and a walk after taking over with two out in the second.

"They had me throw both ways [during training]," said Martinez, "and then asked me to try to throw underhanded. I've got a fastball, a curve, a knuckleball, a riser and some other things."

Martinez gets decent velocity on her pitches despite the unorthodox delivery.

She said she sometimes "catches a glimpse of what guys are doing at the plate when they face me.

"One I struck out was bowing down to me. Sometimes, they get mad and sometimes they giggle."

Niekro said the big difference in his mind is that men grow up with baseball from infancy while the game is new to women in adulthood.

"I don't know if we're ever going to find women who can run like they do in professional baseball," said Niekro. "I haven't seen anyone who can really run yet.

"But I don't think we can judge by one or two months on tour. Give them a few years with talent trying out from all over the country.

"The biggest thing the staff has to do is be patient because

baseball and softball are like night and day."

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