Pitching begins to fit Arundel's Kitchen Successful move: First baseman makes transition and senior right-hander is 7-1 on the mound.

April 19, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

For someone who didn't want to pitch and prefers first base to firing windmill pitches, Arundel's Kara Kitchen is not doing badly.

Kitchen, who was reluctant to take the mound as a sophomore and was 10-7 for a 10-8 team last year as a junior, went 42 straight innings before giving up an earned run for the No. 2 Wildcats (9-1, 6-0, South Division leader) this spring.

The senior right-hander is 7-1, the only loss by 4-0 to Calvert with all the runs unearned in 20-degree weather. Kitchen, who also is batting .430, has a 2-1 eight-inning victory over No. 4 Severna Park (2-3) and All-County pitcher Christy Huber.

Kitchen has impressed Division I Charleston-Southern (S.C.) enough as a pitcher and hitter that it has given her a near full scholarship .

"When I first became head coach, Kara didn't want to pitch," said third-year Arundel coach Paul Yannuzzi. "She just wanted to play first base, and she's a terrific first baseman, but last year, she started having some success throwing and decided that pitching was special."

Yannuzzi calls his senior ace "a self-made woman who has taken talent and built on it. Weight training has made her stronger and she is driven to succeed. She's very coachable, a great example to our younger players."

"There is no doubt in my mind that she will succeed at the !B collegiate level," said Yannuzzi.

Kitchen will major in early childhood education because it's her long-range goal to work in day care or at a children's hospital.

She has been playing softball since age seven for her dad, Barry Kitchen.

"My dad started me pitching at 12 and then I went to the clinics run by Paul Tewey and Jack Crandell, but I liked playing first base the most," said Kitchen, who for the past four years has played for her father's Maryland Magic summer team which has won two straight Amateur Softball Association 16-and-under state championships.

"I didn't have any choice but to pitch at Arundel to help the team. Charleston-Southern has a young team and their pitchers play other positions which suits me fine."

She throws a fast ball, changeup and drop with good command of each. Her only problem thus far this season have been blisters, the result of higher stitches on this year's new optic yellow softball .

With the 17-year old Kitchen on the mound, the Wildcats have become a contender for the 4A East Region title and possible state championship. The East Region has produced the last 10 4A state champions.

"I think it's a realistic goal if we play up to our capabilities," said Kitchen, whose freshman sister, Breanna, is her batterymate.

As a senior captain , Kara brings the intangible of knowing what it takes to win a state title. She was a key member and three-point specialist on the Wildcats' state champion basketball team.

"We [the basketball team] weren't going to accept anything less than a state championship [after coming up short in the final the year before]," said Kara. "This [softball] team just needs to work a little harder to accomplish what the basketball team did."

Pub Date: 4/19/96

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