About the only thing that didn't go right for top-ranked Archbishop Spalding in yesterday's Catholic League Tournament championship game against the Institute of Notre Dame was that it lost the coin flip to determine who would be the home team.
After that minor setback, Spalding junior right-hander Crystal Ray shut down the Indians on one hit and the Cavaliers pounded out 11 hits en route to an 11-0 rout at UMBC. The game was halted after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
Ray allowed a leadoff single to Jen Trotta and then retired 13 of the next 14 batters. She walked one, struck out seven and did not allow a runner past second base.
The Cavaliers' hitting attack was led by catcher Beth Yourishin (3-for-4, three RBIs) and shortstop Crystal Henderson (3-for-4, three runs, RBI).
Spalding (24-2) took control from the outset, scoring two runs in the first and adding two more in the second before breaking the game open with a six-run fourth.
The Cavaliers systematically wore down the Indians (15-7) with their pitching, hitting, aggressive base running and flawless fielding. Even their postgame celebration was businesslike, as Ray trotted off the mound after striking out Kristan Heaney and exchanged handshakes with her teammates.
"This team is unlike any other team I've coached," Spalding coach Linda Taylor said. "Everyone of them is very talented, everyone of them has contributed in their own way, and that's what got us here and that's what gave us the win."
Spalding notched its third consecutive Catholic League Tournament championship win over IND -- by a combined score of 23-0 -- and has defeated the Indians in the title game seven times in the past eight seasons. IND upset the Cavaliers in 1993.
"This is the eighth straight time that we've gotten into the finals and we're real proud of it," IND coach Sandy Altadonna said. "We think it's a big accomplishment when only one other team beats you."
Altadonna said before the game that the Indians would have to play mistake-free to stand a chance against their nemesis, but IND committed three errors and made a couple of mental mistakes, which led to seven unearned runs.
With runners on first and third and two out in the first, Spalding's Zeenat Marfani hit a hard grounder to third baseman Heaney, who fielded it cleanly, but her throw pulled first baseman Amy Lader off the bag and Henderson scored. A wild pitch by Amy Cipolloni then allowed Yourishin to score.
In the second, right fielder Jen Hauck misjudged a fly ball, resulting in a two-base error and leading to two more unearned runs. Three of the Cavaliers runs in fourth also were unearned.
"We're the kind of team that if you have some kind of breakdown, we're just going to jump all over it," Taylor said.
Spalding's 4-0 lead after two innings was more than enough for Ray, who kept the Indians off-balance with an assortment of fastballs, curves, drops and changeups.
"We came in here all fired up and I felt strong from the start," Ray said.
Said Altadonna: "It's tough to hit against a pitcher like Crystal Ray when she's on. Sometimes, there are days when you can get to her, but not today."
Pub Date: 5/16/96