Spalding well armed for success

March 30, 1995|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

This is the kind of pitching depth that softball coaches dream about, but seldom attain.

Two days after Archbishop Spalding's Crystal Ray threw a five-inning no-hitter to defeat Seton Keough, Kathleen O'Hara allowed only four base runners in a 7-0 victory over Mercy at Randazzo Park.

Two poised sophomore windmillers. Two reasons the Cavaliers are expected to defend their Catholic League tournament championship with little resistance.

"I've been blessed," said coach Linda Taylor, whose team went 18-0 last year. "It's a great luxury. I feel confident with either one on the mound. They're very mature for sophomores. It's incredible."

O'Hara didn't lack for offensive support, though the Cavaliers' bats were quieter than in Monday's 18-0 romp. Second-ranked Spalding (2-0) collected seven hits yesterday, five during a four-run sixth inning.

Leadoff hitter Crystal Henderson reached base on a single, walk and error, and scored two runs. She also stole four bases.

Ray singled twice and knocked in a run. Maria Drury, Nicki Trumpler, Beth Yourishin and Heather Fox each had an RBI.

That was more than enough for O'Hara, who went 2-0 last season -- including a perfect game -- while backing up league MVP Carrie Parsons and Rachael Synowski.

Parsons and Synowski have moved on to college, but the sight of opposing batters being mowed down still remains.

O'Hara gave up three hits, walked one and struck out eight. She retired the first nine batters, and 11 of the first 12.

Ray wasn't such a tough act to follow after all.

"They're very similar," Taylor said. "They both mix it up and are very controlled. And they're not scared to throw any pitch.

"Kathleen had them on their heels the whole time, and we have one of the best defenses in the state."

Drury nearly turned the Sharpshooters' first hit into an out when she ran down a fourth-inning single by Aubrey Schaeffer in shallow center field and barely threw late to first.

O'Hara surrendered a leadoff double to Rachael Grob in the sixth and a leadoff, bloop single to Meg Kline in the seventh. She got herself out of trouble in the last inning by fielding a grounder by Cory Kamen and starting a double play.

"My changeup was working pretty good today, but my fastball wasn't really that sharp," said O'Hara, who also used a drop pitch.

When asked about the pressure of following Ray's no-hitter, O'Hara said, "I try not to feel nervous. I just come out and do my best, and we have a really good defense behind me."

Spalding pushed across two runs in the first. Henderson reached on a bunt single, stole second and scored when Ray lined a single to center. Ray moved to second on the throw home and to third on a wild pitch. She scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Trumpler.

Henderson walked with one out in the third, stole second and third, and scored on a bunt to the mound by Drury.

Ray, Trumpler and O'Hara singled to open the sixth. A throwing error scored two runs, a fielder's choice grounder by Yourishin delivered another and a single by Fox made it 7-0.

Venat Marfani also singled during the uprising.

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