In the sport of high school softball, there are no five-man rotations. When a coach unearths a quality pitcher, she is often used day in and day out, becoming the centerpiece of the team.
And if the value of a pitcher is gauged by the amount of time she spends on the mound, then John Carroll's April Lynch was by far the most important player on any field yesterday at the six-team Patterson Tournament.
Lynch, as she's done for the past two years, started every game for the fourth-ranked Patriots, allowing one earned run in three complete-game victories to lead her team to the tournament title.
After holding the 11th-ranked Institute of Notre Dame to six singles en route to a 5-1 win in the final -- capping nearly seven hours of softball in unseasonably cold conditions -- there was only one thing left to say.
Said Lynch: "I just want a hot tub."
The senior earned that right, working the corners to near perfection against the Indians, who were shut out on three hits over the final six innings after having scored 19 runs in earlier tournament wins against Catholic and host Patterson.
"We can tell her to go in or out, up or down, and that's where she'll throw it," said Patriots coach Neal Drexel. "She's the first pitcher I've ever had who we don't have to tell to just throw a strike."
"I was moving the ball around a lot, trying to hit the inside and outside corners," said Lynch (6-0), who beat Mercy and Southern-B earlier in the day.
Her teammates then made sure the hard work paid off, banging out nine hits against IND starter Amy Cippoloni and taking advantage of four Indian errors.
Three of the first five Patriots batters reached on IND miscues, and two came around to score to give John Carroll (6-0) a 2-1 lead in the first. Jenn Westervelt's RBI groundout in the fifth extended the lead to 3-1, and the Patriots then added single runs in the fifth and sixth to seal the game.
"The errors hurt us," said Indians coach Sandy Altadonna. "I don't know if it's the weather, but we've been starting slow. We made some mistakes, but overall I'm proud of the way we played."
Catcher Paige Boyle and right fielder Shelley Reft each reached base three times for John Carroll, and center fielder Alischa Page went 1-for-3 with a sac fly, double and two RBIs.
Shortstop Robin Johnson went 2-for-3 and scored the only run for IND (4-2).
In the consolation, Southern-B and Patterson were tied, 13-13, after seven innings when the three-hour game was halted by darkness.
Jen Preston went 3-for-4 with four RBIs to lead Patterson (2-4-1), while freshman Tonia Mosher had a key double for the Bulldogs (3-1-1).
The game will not be resumed.
Pub Date: 4/07/96