Up 4-0, Glenelg survives Centennial, 5-4 Win gets better footing in championship race

April 25, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Glenelg coach Chuck Struhar told his team before the season season started that an 11-3 record might win the county title.

With the 13th-ranked Gladiators already having two league losses halfway through the season, yesterday's game against league-leading Centennial was critical.

Glenelg came out strong to take a 4-0 lead, then survived a three-run, seventh-inning rally to defeat the 10th-ranked Eagles, 5-4, at Glenelg.

"If we had lost this game, it would have mentally killed us," said Glenelg pitcher Marni Brown. "We needed to win and give them a loss. This was the game that keeps us in the race."

Centennial drops to 9-3 overall and 6-1 in the league. Glenelg, which had lost two straight before yesterday, improves to 8-5 and 6-2. Howard is third in the league at 5-2 with Atholton and Mount Hebron right behind at 4-3.

"This game was vital for us to win the county championship," said Struhar, whose team won the title in 1994 but was runner-up to Centennial last year.

In the team's first meeting this season, Centennial scored twice in the first two innings and won, 4-1. Glenelg returned the favor by doing the same thing yesterday.

"We were really psyched," said Kristin Hooker, who had two of Glenelg's eight hits. "We really wanted to win."

Hooker and Bonnie Kessler had back-to-back RBI doubles in the first for a 2-0 lead. A one-out single by Caroline Jones and a two-out single by Pam Goldberg gave Glenelg its 4-0 lead after two.

"We just weren't ready to play until the third inning," said Centennial coach Dale Huting. "We need to do some things better at the start of the game."

Centennial loaded the bases with one out in the third, but scored only one run when Brown hit Lindsay Von Paris.

Glenelg scored what proved to be the winning run in the fifth. With one out, Hooker singled to right and moved to second on a wild pitch. One out later, Glenelg's only senior, co-captain Jessie Lombardo, fell behind 0-2 before smashing a triple just out of the reach of Centennial left fielder Karyn Leineweber. Hooker scored.

Centennial went down in order in the sixth, the fifth time the Eagles had done so. But with one out in the seventh, they used RBI hits by Angela Strittmatter and Emily Hall, a walk and two Glenelg errors to score three runs. The Eagles left runners on second and third to end the game.

Despite the loss, Huting feels good about his squad.

"There's a lot of parity in the county," Huting said. "I think we have a good chance of winning the county. Whether we will or not remains to been seen."

Howard 11, Atholton 10: The Lions won on Sara Nunnally's two-out triple in the bottom of the 10th that scored Lara Simon from first. But the victory could be costly, because Howard's top pitcher and one of its best hitters, Rachel Grantham, injured her ankle sliding into second in the third inning and left the game.

"She's very questionable for Friday," said Howard coach Dave Vezzi, whose team plays at Centennial tomorrow.

Atholton scored five runs in the top of the fourth to lead, 8-2, but the Lions answered with eight runs in their half of the inning. Atholton tied the game in the seventh.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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