Atholton changes luck in rematch

March 25, 1995|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

Atholton pitcher Kim Ruprecht still refers to last year's loss to Westminster by the name of the pitch she wishes she'd never thrown -- "the changeup."

Trying to fool a batter who had just fouled off eight pitches, she gave up the game-winning double in extra innings.

Yesterday in the rematch, the senior made certain it didn't happen again.

Ruprecht used an assortment of fastballs and drops to throttle the 13th-ranked Owls on three hits, going the distance to lead the host and sixth-ranked Raiders to a 6-0 win.

For the winning pitcher, the victory helped dampen the memories of last season's disappointment.

"I remember it clearly," said Ruprecht. "I threw a changeup and she whacked it.

"I knew they were a very good hitting team from last year, so I tried to really mix up my pitches."

After allowing two singles in the first inning, Ruprecht and a tight Raiders defense retired 19 of the final 20 batters, including 17 in a row. She struck out seven, and has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings this season.

Yesterday, however, she and Atholton got substantial help from Westminster's defense.

The Owls (1-1) committed eight errors, including four that led directly to Atholton runs.

For first-year coach Scott Tobias -- who spent many hours in the preseason stressing the fundamentals of defense -- it was a nightmare.

"I think they left their heads at home today," said Tobias. "[Starting pitcher] Heather [Gonzales] pitched a good game, but nobody fielded behind her."

Some of Westminster's most costly miscues came in a four-run third.

After Chrissy Gavin led off the inning with an infield single and took second on a wild pitch, Lea Nichols reached on an error by shortstop Katie Curtin to put runners on first and third.

Shannon Eierman followed with an RBI single to center and Ruprecht then drove in two more runs with a ground-rule double down the left-field line.

By the end of the inning, Atholton (2-0) had ballooned its lead to 5-0 using three hits, two errors and two wild pitches.

"For us, the big question mark was hitting," said Atholton coach David Vitagliano, whose team got nine hits off Gonzales. "I think we answered that a little today. It's certainly a start."

Ruprecht (2-0), who helped her cause by reaching base four times, said the victory was a satisfying answer to the "changeup game."

"We just played a great offensive and defensive game," she said. didn't really do anything different, but my team played a great game behind me. That always helps a lot."

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