Pitchers lift Atholton in its own tournament

April 20, 1995|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

In past years, Atholton pitcher Kim Ruprecht often dreaded the combination of warm, sunny days and doubleheaders.

As the ace of the staff, she usually pitched every inning of both games, feeling exhausted by day's end.

But for the first time in the senior's stellar career yesterday, things were different.

With freshman Holly Gick making her debut as a starter on the mound, Ruprecht had to face just one batter in the opener against Paint Branch, then went the distance against Riverdale Baptist, picking up a save and a win in two 3-2 victories at the annual Atholton Spring Tournament.

"I think [having a second pitcher] is huge in a tournament where you've got to play two games in a day," said Atholton coach David Vitagliano, whose team improved to 9-2.

"We've had some capable pitchers before, but none like Holly."

Said Ruprecht: "Having someone this year makes things a lot easier on me. Holly did a tremendous job."

Gick began the day by throttling Paint Branch on four hits over the first 6 2/3 innings, but needed a little help from Ruprecht to pick up the win.

With the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position and two outs, the right-hander picked up a strikeout to end the game.

She then went to work on Riverdale Baptist, changing speeds on her fastball to keep the Crusaders (7-2) off balance. She allowed just four singles and struck out nine, stranding eight runners, six in scoring position.

"If we got a couple hits we could've won the game," said Riverdale Baptist coach Tom Spavone, whose team defeated Paint Branch, 3-0, on a two-hitter earlier in the day.

"[Ruprecht] pitched a very good game. She stayed in front of the count. We didn't get some key hits, she had a lot to do with it."

After battling through a recent problem in which she was penalized numerous times for lifting her plant foot off the rubber, Ruprecht said that a new delivery has put her at ease.

"We worked on that a lot, and it made a big difference today," she said. "I didn't have to worry about the umpire, and I was more comfortable out there. I felt more confident than I have in a while."

She also tripled in each game, the second a rope down the right-field line driving in Lea Nichols with what proved to be the winning run.

But her teammates also did their part.

At the plate, they got at least one hit in every inning against Riverdale Baptist starter Kelly Bradford, with the top four hitters in the lineup -- Chrissy Gavin, Nichols, Ruprecht and Shannon Eierman -- reaching base nine out of 12 times.

"The fact is, we got more production from our one through four hitters," said Vitagliano, who though disappointed with the fact that one of the scheduled teams -- St. John's of Washington -- pulled out at the last moment, changing the format to round-robin, was thrilled with the results of the day.

"You've got to be happy with a pair of 3-2 victories."

Baseball

* Atholton Tournament: Jason Sandner tripled to lead off and finished 2-for-4 with one RBI as Atholton (7-4) advanced through the opening round of its own tournament with a 14-11 victory over Wilde Lake.

Atholton scored five runs in the first and second innings. Billy Hite went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Winner Sean Williams (3-2) went four innings, gave up five runs, three hits, walked six and struck out six. Jason Sturgill took the loss for Wilde Lake.

In the other game, Glenelg (10-1) defeated Paint Branch, 8-3.

Winning pitcher Steve Dulaney struck out two batters and gave up three hits to Paint Branch (8-1).

Boys lacrosse

* Atholton Tournament: John Pramik had six goals and one assist to lead Atholton (4-6) over 2-7 Hammond, 12-1, in the opening round of the tournament.

Denny Cole scored seven goals and Iggy Levelev contributed five goals to lead Oakland Mills (8-1) over 3-6 Glenelg, 16-5, in the other game.

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