Van Doren's clutch HR swings win Westminster's way Three-run shot lifts Owls past Thomas Johnson, 4-3

April 19, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

It was cold and plenty windy yesterday afternoon at Westminster, where Owls senior first baseman Ashley Van Doren didn't want to play extra innings.

So when visiting Thomas Johnson got a run across to tie the

game at 1 in the top of the sixth, Van Doren answered in the bottom of the inning with a three-run homer that propeled the No. 14 Owls to a 4-3 win.

Thomas Johnson (6-3, 4-3 in the Central Maryland Conference) closed within one in the seventh and had a runner on third with two outs, but Westminster junior pitcher Carli Harris got Angie Sinsky to ground out to senior shortstop Katie Curtin to end the game.

It turned out to be Van Doren's day.

After striking out in her first two at bats, she hit her second homer of the season -- a long fly to right -- with two outs and two strikes.

"With two strikes, I just choked up and tried to put it in play. I did myself a favor after the two strikeouts," Van Doren said.

There was indecision on whether to play the game with the cold and high winds, but both teams have busy weeks ahead and rescheduling would have been difficult.

Westminster coach Scott Tobias was certainly pleased to get the game in. His Owls, now 10-1 overall and 7-0 in the CMC, have separated themselves from the four-time CMC champ Patriots and the rest of the league with strong pitching from Harris, solid defense and timely hitting.

All three were there yesterday.

Harris struck out six and allowed seven hits.

Curtin, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, had three assists at short -- including an excellent play on a slow roller past the mound in the fifth.

And it was Van Doren's turn to provide the big hit.

"After she had two strikes on her, I told her to re-focus. A lot of times kids get down after two strikes, but [Thomas Johnson pitcher Nicole Bittinger] made a mistake and Ashley took advantage of it," said Tobias.

"All game long I was telling the girls they had to put the ball in play to put pressure on the defense. She sure did that. It's nice to see a quality individual come up with a big hit."

Sophomore second baseman Liz Curtin had two singles and scored the Owls' first run on older sister Katie's two-out single in the third.

Pub Date: 4/19/97

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