Aside from a meaningless, last-inning run by Damascus last Saturday, the North Carroll Panthers have been flawless in reaching the Class 3A West region final.
In yesterday's semifinal against Carroll County rival Liberty, the No. 15 Panthers pounded out 10 hits, got a three-hit shutout from senior pitcher Holly Carswell, and continued their sparkling play defensively to come away with a 6-0 win in Hampstead.
The Panthers (15-7) will travel to Frederick tomorrow afternoon to take on Central Maryland Conference foe Thomas Johnson -- 17-1 winner over Churchill yesterday -- for the region championship. The teams split two games during the regular season.
This is how things are going for the Panthers these days: Their only error of the game came with two on and two outs in the first inning when shortstop Meredith Gill dropped Liz Armstrong's fly in short left. Gill then quickly recovered to throw a perfect strike to catcher Becky Bosley to get Amanda Sleeper trying to score.
"The defense is playing as well as I've seen us play in recent years," said North Carroll coach Rich Harvey. "We weren't playing real well the last couple of weeks [of the regular season] and the girls were disappointed. They decided to turn it around in the playoffs. The pitching has been solid, the defense good, and we've been getting some clutch hits. Everybody is contributing right now, and you can't ask for more."
The playoff-opening, solid 5-1 win over traditional power Damascus provided a big lift, and the Panthers carried that over with a 16-0 win at Richard Montgomery on Monday.
A four-run second got it started yesterday with the Panthers taking advantage of a two-out error. Leading 1-0, Jen Geiman tripled to drive in the second run and she came across on a wild pitch to make it 3-0. Jen Bromwell followed with a single, stole second and scored on a single from Bosley.
"Everything is clicking at the right time," Bosley said. "For the seniors, we know this is it. We have to do it for us."
The Lions, who got two singles from Stacy Smith, were 7-13 on the season.
Pub Date: 5/15/97