7-run first powers IND past Centennial, 11-5 Eagles use tourney to give P Paulus varsity innings

April 14, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Call it a learning experience.

Centennial freshman Kim Paulus pitched her first varsity game yesterday against the Institute of Notre Dame in the championship of the Centennial Softball Tournament.

She began by walking the first two hitters. Ten batters later, Paulus had given up two doubles, three singles and two more walks. The Eagles were down seven runs before coming to bat.

"I'm upset about my performance," Paulus said. "I could have done a lot better."

Paulus settled down and threw decently the next two innings before being replaced by Emily Hall, the Eagles' No. 1 pitcher. But the fourth-ranked Eagles could not overcome the first-inning deficit and lost for the first time in six games, 11-5.

"I thought today she was just a little nervous," Centennial coach Dale Huting said of Paulus, who was brought up to the varsity on Friday. "The next time we need her to pitch, she'll be OK. I have confidence in her."

Paulus said she "wasn't comfortable or confident" early on and that she didn't "concentrate on my motion. I really didn't know what I was doing. It was all out of whack."

Huting decided to use the tournament to see how Paulus would do against varsity competition. Paulus, who played second base in the Eagles' 10-2 win over Mount de Sales in the tournament opener, was glad to have the chance.

"I think this just makes me stronger," said Paulus. "It gave me a struggle and I had to stick with it. I came out the second inning and held them to one run."

Said Huting: "She didn't pitch the way she can, but after the first inning she was OK. There's a first time for everything."

Centennial, which was missing starters Kristy and Kathy Mitroka, scored two runs in the first on a two-out single by Brittany Deuchler. The Eagles scored two more runs in the second, again with two outs, on singles by Hall and Lindsay Von Paris. That cut IND's lead to 8-4.

Two Centennial errors helped IND score two more runs in the third, and the Indians added another in the fifth without a hit.

The Eagles had eight hits in the last three innings, but only scored once, in the fifth. IND ended the fifth when Paulus flied out to center with the bases loaded and Karyn Leineweber was tagged out in a rundown after tagging up from third. Leineweber also was thrown out at home by IND center fielder Jen Trotta in the seventh inning.

Rather than dwell on the negatives, Von Paris, who had a solid defensive game, said the Eagles will benefit from the loss.

"We're coming out of this tournament a stronger team," Von Paris said. "It kind of opened our eyes. We have some work to do to become the team we have been in the past and the team we can be."

IND (6-3) advanced to the final with an 11-6 win over Chapelgate. The Flames (2-2-1) lost, 16-8, to Mount de Sales (4-3) in the consolation. Chapelgate's No. 1 pitcher, Faith Meisinger, left the first game after three innings because of a blister. She threw one inning in the second game.

Pub Date: 4/14/96

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