They're young, talented and seemingly fearless, and right now these three Northeast freshmen are driving the Eagles toward the top of the Anne Arundel County North Division softball standings.
They are Renee Mrowczynski, Stacy Smith and Deana Benner and yesterday the threesome did a lot of damage as sixth-ranked Northeast rallied for two runs with two outs in the seventh inning to turn back second-ranked Arundel, 2-1.
It was the second straight Friday afternoon upset pulled off by Northeast on its home field. Last Friday, the then-unranked Eagles stunned then-No. 2 Chesapeake in Riviera Beach.
Mrowczynski hit the game-winning two-out, bases-loaded single yesterday, driving an 0-and-1 pitch from Kara Kitchen to left-center to score Benner and Shelley Guy with the go-ahead runs.
It was the second hit of the day for the freshman center fielder, who also serves as the captain of the team which has now won six of its past seven games to improve to 9-4.
Northeast is 5-2 in the North Division and is challenging Chesapeake and Glen Burnie for the right to most likely meet Arundel (10-2, 7-1 in South Division) for the county title, May 7 at Northeast.
Mrowczynski, who hits fifth in the lineup, said: "It's important for me to be there for the team. They depend on me and I was concentrating on every pitch. I drove through the ball and hit it pretty good."
Mrowczynski's hit ended seven innings of frustration for Northeast against Kitchen, who had the Eagles down to their last strike twice in the seventh.
Kitchen was one strike away twice from getting the shutout when Guy was at the plate in the seventh with Benner on first and two outs.
But Guy delivered a single to center on a 3-and-2 pitch to keep the Northeast hopes alive. Benner began the two-out rally with a single to left.
After the clutch Guy hit, Shanna McKinney was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Mrowczynski. This time the Eagles didn't fail to produce as they had in the first, second, third and sixth innings when they squandered opportunities. Northeast left nine runners on base yesterday and Arundel stranded 10.
"We shook off all those disappointments and kept our heads in the game," said Mrowczynski. "We truly learned today that the game is never over until the last out."
The Mrowczynski heroics enabled fellow freshman Smith to run her record to 4-2 with a six-hit, complete-game effort. Smith struck out three and didn't give up any walks but hit two batters.
She worked out of major Arundel threats in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings after the Wildcats pushed across their only run in second on a Kim Gonski run-scoring bloop single to right.
Pub Date: 4/20/96