Sagging In Softball, Eagles Hope Hall's Return Helps


April 25, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Centennial's softball team, which was shut out yesterday for the second time this season and has lost four of its last five games, hopes to get a lift today against first-place Howard when Emily Hall returns to the mound.

Hall, an All-Metro selection last year and The Sun's Howard County Player of the Year, has played but hasn't pitched in the Eagles' last three games. She has been bothered by tendinitis in her left shoulder for a month.

Hall threw for the first time since April 16 following yesterday's 9-0 loss at River Hill.

"I feel much better," Hall said last night. "It doesn't hurt at all."

Hall said she is "fired up" to pitch against 11th-ranked Howard (11-1 league). The Eagles, who are in a fourth-place tie in the county at 7-5 with Mount Hebron and River Hill, handed Howard its only loss of the season, 4-2, on March 27.

Hall broke up Holly Gick's bid for a no-hitter yesterday with a two-out double in the sixth inning. Gick, who shut out Centennial in the team's first meeting, finished with a two-hitter.

Centennial, which has won eight of the last 10 county championships, including the last two, hasn't had a season like this in many, many years. Eagles coach Dale Huting said last night he was "frustrated" by his team's play yesterday "because I don't think we played as well as we should have."

But Huting added that he was looking forward to today's game at Howard. "I'm not discouraged [about the season]," Huting said. "It's a matter of realizing our potential and putting it all together like we were doing early in the season."

Softball hits

More about Emily Hall: She'll attend Elon (N.C.) College on a partial scholarship.

Hall also was recruited heavily by the University of Maryland but chose Elon because "I really like Elon's program better."

Hall, who plays left field for her club team, expects to play left field and bat first or second at Elon, which moves up to Division I next fall. She might pitch some next year and told the coach she could catch if needed. "It's something that I want to try," said Hall, who plans to major in special education and would like to teach.

Hammond, which didn't win a regular-season game last year, already has won four this season. Its most exciting win was 15-14 last Friday over River Hill. Trailing 11-4, the Golden Bears scored six runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Hammond won the game on a two-out, two-run triple by Nicole Owe in the seventh. Owe also homered twice, and Jaymi Kim had three hits and stole four bases.

Glenelg pitcher Marni Brown threw a five-inning no-hitter yesterday in the team's 15-0 win over winless Long Reach. Brown faced 17 batters.

Wilde Lake on rise

Wilde Lake's softball team is giving coach Kelly Storr quite a send-off.

Storr, the Wildecats' highly successful girls basketball coach, will leave softball after this season.

But the softball players have made sure Storr won't forget her final season.

After finishing below .500 in Storr's first four years, the Wildecats have dramatically turned their program around. Wilde Lake, which suffered its second straight loss yesterday against visiting Mount Hebron, 8-6, is 9-5 overall and 8-4 in the county (third place).

"It's amazing," said Storr of the turnaround.

It's happened for a number of reasons. The Wildecats returned six starters from last year's team, which beat regional champion Howard twice in the regular season. Those returning were sophomore pitcher Jen Babish, senior shortstop Mai Tran, senior outfielder Becky Ransom, junior outfielder Stef Bassett, and infielders Brooke Silverberg and Kim Austin.

Babish has become one of the county's better starters. "Jen is a good pitcher," said Wilde Lake assistant coach Sal Milio. "Once she can control her emotions, she can be an outstanding pitcher."

Tran and Bassett both are hitting over .500, and Ransom also is doing well at the plate. Another contributor has been freshman catcher Lauren Cipriani, who is hitting clean-up.

While Storr certainly deserves credit for the turnaround, Milio has been a big influence, especially on offense. In his six years as an assistant at Mount Hebron, the Vikings reached the state tournament three times -- losing in the semifinals and twice in the championship.

"He's very knowledgeable and has given the players a lot of confidence [at the plate]," Storr said. "He's done a really good job."

The Wildecats lost their first two games by identical 3-2 scores to Centennial and Howard. But their showings in those games gave them confidence. This is a team that, unlike a year ago, expects to win. "There has been an influx of kids from winning [summer league] programs. They know how to win and that's contagious," Milio said.

Pub Date: 4/25/97

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