Glen Burnie follows Lanham's lead Catcher carries Gophers to 6-2 win over Northeast

Softball

April 03, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Jennifer Lanham has been known for her many skills behind home plate as a catcher since the first day she put on a Glen Burnie uniform.

But Lanham may never again dominate a game as she did yesterday in the third-ranked Gophers' 6-2 victory over second-ranked Northeast.

The senior All-Anne Arundel County first-team pick last season blocked the plate twice to tag out Northeast runners, threw two runners out who were attempting to steal second, and gunned down another runner at third off a relay throw from the outfield.

"I love to block the plate more than anything else I do catching," said Lanham. "It's something I just picked up. Nobody really taught me."

Lanham said Glen Burnie was charged up for the game because Northeast was ranked ahead of the Gophers.

"I think we wanted it more than they did," said Lanham. "It's better to be No. 2 than No. 3 because it's closer to No. 1."

Glen Burnie was coming off a 5-1 loss to No. 1 Archbishop Spalding last Saturday and can only overtake the Cavaliers if someone knocks off Spalding.

The five base-runners caught by Lanham's skills were among seven Northeast runners thrown out on the bases yesterday in a frustrating afternoon for the home team.

The Eagles also committed seven errors, leading to four unearned runs for Glen Burnie.

It was a tough day for Northeast coach Lynn Pitonzo in only her third game back after a four-year absence. In her previous 14-year run, her teams won seven state titles.

"Much of what happened out there on the bases wasn't planned," said Pitonzo. "We missed a hit-and-run signal among a lot of other things. We have a lot to work on. I can't really explain why all this happened."

Pitonzo also watched her predetermined decision to pull starting pitcher Lisa Gordon after four innings prove costly.

Gordon was working on a 1-0, one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and only two walks through four innings, but Pitonzo still went ahead with her plan to bring in Stacy Smith.

Smith gave up three hits and two runs to the first three batters she faced before settling down.

Smith allowed only one more hit and struck out five the rest of the game but the Northeast defense made five errors behind her.

Glen Burnie's Jen Zabetakis drove in the Gophers' first two runs with a pinch-hit, two-run single to right in the fifth inning.

Michelle Whelan went the distance for Glen Burnie, allowing six hits, three walks, one wild pitch and one earned run.

Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino said of the Lanham show, "There might be better hitting catchers around here, but no one is better at blocking the plate than Jen. Don't let her kid you about getting pumped up for this game. Jen Lanham and Jen Zabetakis get charged up for every game we play."

Chesapeake-AA 2, North County 1: Brook Cline's seventh-inning double powered the No. 4 Cougars to a key Anne Arundel County road victory over the ninth-ranked Knights. Cline's hit atoned for her fielding error in the sixth that allowed the tying run to score.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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