Ray, Ryals spark Spalding over Glen Burnie, 5-1 Top-ranked Cavaliers prevail over No. 3 Gophers

March 30, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

It was billed as a girls softball battle for No. 1 in the Baltimore metro area yesterday when top-ranked Archbishop Spalding clashed with third-ranked Glen Burnie in the first Cavalier Classic at Randazzo Park in Severn.

But it became more of the Crystal Ray/Sabrina Ryals show as Spalding coasted to a 5-1 victory in a game that was shortened by lightning and rain, which struck the area with the Cavs batting in the top of the seventh with two outs.

Glen Burnie, the home team, was given an opportunity to come back tomorrow and finish the game, but coach Bob Broccolino decided it was more important that his team practice tomorrow for two key Anne Arundel County North Division games this week than try to catch up to Ray's offerings for four runs with only three outs left.

Broccolino said, "Spalding deserves to be No. 1. They played a smart game against us and have a lot of talented players who are taught the fundamentals by their coach, Linda Taylor. They do play in a weaker league [Catholic] than we do [Anne Arundel], but they have proven they're No. 1."

Ray was little short of untouchable yesterday against a seasoned team that usually can find a lot of ways to score.

And Ryals put on a hitting show (4-for-4 with two RBIs) that most people only dream about when they are facing their old teammates for the first time.

Ryals was a first-team All-Metro shortstop for Glen Burnie last season as a freshman but transferred to Spalding a little less than two months ago.

Ray, a senior right-hander, mesmerized the Gophers (2-1) for unbeaten Spalding (4-0) with seven different pitches.

The two-time high school All-America threw a three-hitter, with two of Glen Burnie's hits coming on bloopers by Michelle Whelan and Michelle Shultheis and the third on a low liner to center by Jeri Haagenson, who was hitting ninth in the order.

Ray struck out six, walked one and didn't allow any earned runs. The Glen Burnie run in the sixth scored on the only two errors Spalding made.

"If you have a pitcher throwing off-speed pitches on three-and-two counts like Crystal Ray did against us twice today and caught us looking, there's no way you're going to do much hitting," said Broccolino.

Ray said, "I was much happier this year with the way I pitched against Glen Burnie than last year when we beat them in a high-scoring game when everybody was rocking the ball over the field on a very cold day. The main thing I wanted to do was keep them off the bases. My off-speed pitch was working and I went back to it often."

In addition to a blistering fastball and off-speed pitch, Ray throws a drop, rise ball, curve, off-speed drop and a changeup.

Ray also went 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in a run, and Kathleen O'Hara was 2-for-4 in a 10-hit attack off junior Glen Burnie pitcher Jen Zabetakis.

"Crystal was super today on the mound," said Spalding coach Taylor. "And she hit well. She has the courage to come back with her off-speed and changeups even if someone gets a hit off them. That's what she's supposed to do."

For Ryals, there were mixed emotions even though she enjoyed a perfect day at the plate and the victory over her former mates.

"No matter what, I'll always be cheering for Glen Burnie when we're not playing them," said Ryals.

Zabetakis, whose four walks yesterday was one more than she allowed all last year in 75 innings, said, "I was trying to overthrow too much and that's why I didn't have good control."

Before taking on Spalding at noon yesterday in the six-team tournament, Whelan pitched a one-hitter as Glen Burnie scored a 1-0 victory over Mount de Sales.

Ninth-ranked North County (1-1) also won yesterday morning, turning back Seton Keough, 6-2, behind a three-run homer by Allison Sabo in the fifth inning.

In yesterday's other noon game, which was halted by the storm at the end of 4 1/2 innings, Severna Park (0-3) was leading Seton Keough, 4-2, and hoping to pick up its first win. That game will be continued tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Randazzo, followed by a complete game between Severna Park and Mount de Sales at 3: 45.

The other game in the tournament between Spalding and North County that was scheduled for yesterday at 2 has been canceled.

Pub Date: 3/30/97

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