Glen Burnie takes care of field, then foe Gophers back Zabetakis with timely hits to down Chesapeake in opener, 7-4

March 27, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

On another one of those cold and windy March season-openers, perennial power Glen Burnie won over Chesapeake, 7-4, and discovered four important things about its team yesterday:

Michelle Whelan can play shortstop.

Jen Zabetakis is still Jen Zabetakis on the mound.

Bonnie Nevin can hit and drive in runs.

And the entire team loves to play so much it was willing to give up lunch hour to work hard to make a rain-soaked Glen Burnie field playable.

"I couldn't believe it," said Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino. "These girls were carrying 200-pound bags of kitty litter on the field during lunch hour and raking it so we could play. This field was covered with water when we got here this morning, but the girls still wanted to play."

All the work was worth it for the eager Gophers, who turned back the Cougars in a matchup of traditional Anne Arundel powers.

Whelan had a lot of pressure on her yesterday as she took her position at shortstop in the first inning, replacing All-Metro first-teamer Sabrina Ryals, who has transferred to top-ranked Archbishop Spalding.

Chesapeake leadoff hitter Michelle Cappe hit a grounder to Whelan on the first play of the game. Whelan couldn't come up with it and was charged with an error.

That was the bad news.

The good news for third-ranked Glen Burnie came over the rest of the game, as Whelan fielded her position flawlessly.

"That was some performance by Michelle Whelan," said Broccolino. "She shook off all the pressure of replacing Sabrina and making that quick error to come back and do a good job. The other girls on the team helped out by encouraging her and telling her to shake it off."

Whelan, a junior who is also an outstanding pitcher, didn't let anything that happened in the field interfere with her hitting, going 3-for-4 against fourth-ranked Chesapeake.

Zabetakis, 7-2 as a sophomore last season with only three walks in 75 innings, picked up yesterday where she left off except for more control problems than usual.

She went the distance for the Gophers, scattering seven hits, walking three, striking out three and allowing two earned runs.

Nevin, the junior left fielder, had a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate with three RBIs in her first varsity game. She was a JV player last season.

For Chesapeake (1-1), it was a case of not being able to apply the knockout punch to Zabetakis in the fifth inning, when the Cougars rallied to cut the lead to 6-4 and had the bases loaded with one out.

Zabetakis escaped further trouble by turning a nice stop on the mound into a double play.

Chesapeake played yesterday without pitching standout Nikki Carpenter, who was hurt in a recent car accident and will be out for a week. The Cougars also were missing senior first baseman Julie French, out with a fever, and sophomore Meredith Pirone, out with a broken hand.

Pub Date: 3/27/97

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