Donaldson, Severna Park sharp in opening victory Falcons need just one run for win over Northeast

March 24, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Pitching is usually ahead of the hitting in the early season.

That certainly was the case yesterday at Northeast, where visiting Severna Park scratched across a run in the fourth and let junior pitcher Amanda Donaldson take care of the rest for a 1-0 win in the season opener for both teams.

Junior catcher Melissa Ledsome provided a two-out single to score junior shortstop Meredith McAlister while Donaldson, a two-time All-Metro selection, scattered three hits and got out of a seventh-inning jam to preserve the win.

"Typical Anne Arundel softball," said Severna Park assistant Joe Gillespie, filling in for head coach Duane McAlister, who was out of town. "We saw some nice defensive plays and Amanda did a super job of pitching."

After the No. 5-ranked Falcons took the 1-0 lead, Donaldson retired nine straight -- four strikeouts with nothing else leaving the infield -- to reach the seventh.

In Northeast's last chance, pinch hitter Lisa Verette lined a single over short. Amanda Shifflett followed with a grounder to Donaldson, who bobbled it and then threw low to first to put runners on second and third.

Stacy Smith followed and, after two unsuccessful bunt tries to move the runners up, lined to second baseman Lauren Huber.

Donaldson then got Kristen Little on strikes and persuaded Stephanie Adams to ground to short, with McAlister tagging out Verette on the way to third.

"Not bad. Nip-and-tuck, 1-0. It was a great game," said Northeast coach Marianne Shultz. "It came down to execution. We didn't lay down the bunts and they did. We made a couple of miscues. Those are early mistakes and things we'll definitely correct. I'm not disappointed by any means."

McAlister, who also enjoyed a solid day in the field, got the fourth inning started for the Falcons with a line single past third. One out later, Marideth Everly beat out a bunt to put runners on first and second. With two outs, Ledsome hit a soft liner to right to score McAlister.

Three of the four hits Northeast junior pitcher Deana Benner gave up came in the pivotal fourth inning. She retired 10 of the last 11 Falcons (the only batter to reach was on error) to keep it close for the No. 4-ranked Eagles. But their offense never found an answer for Donaldson, who had a live fastball and good control throughout.

Some solid defense also took place. Both center fielders -- Northeast's Renee Mrowczynski and Severna Park's Emily Smith -- had nice catches on line drives.

Pub Date: 3/24/98

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