Glen Burnie makes itself at home with 3-1 win Gophers beat Watkins Mill in first semifinal since 1989

4A softball semifinals

May 20, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

It had been a while since Glen Burnie had made a Class 4A state playoff appearance, but the top-ranked Gophers certainly didn't look like strangers in last night's semifinal at Randazzo Park.

Battle-tested the past week after surviving the demanding East region, the Gophers continued their sterling postseason play with a 3-1 win over West region champ Watkins Mill.

Behind eight seniors and riding an 11-game win streak, the Gophers (17-4 ) head into tomorrow's state championship game against Eleanor Roosevelt -- an 11-9 winner over Dulaney in last night's other semifinal -- looking for their third state title and first since 1989, when they last reached state play.

The final was originally slated for Friday night, but Roosevelt has its senior prom that night, prompting the change. Game time is set for 4 p.m. tomorrow at Randazzo Park.

Yesterday, the only thing holding the Gophers back from tomorrow's final was the 5: 30 game on Field 2. It extended nine innings before Calvert came away with a 6-5 win over Damascus in a Class 3A semifinal, delaying the start of the late game by 45 minutes.

It was well worth the wait for the Gophers, who once again went about their usual business manufacturing runs, getting another strong pitching effort from senior Jen Zabetakis and some timely defense. Nothing new the past month or so.

"Defense and pitching has set the tone," said Glen burnie coach Bob Broccolino. "We were 6-4 early on and I didn't know what kind of season we would have. But the girls said 'OK, this is it, enough losing.' "

The Gophers punched a run across in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Michelle Whelan reached on an infeld error, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Marianne Ogle groundout.

They added another run in the second when Denise Schultheis doubled, moved to third when Wolverine outfielder Alex Reckendorf misplayed the liner and scored on the very next pitch when pitcher Kelly Drayton threw a wild pitch.

After the Wolverines got one back in the third, it was all Zabetakis with the help of a clutch two-out single from senior Amy Shacklock in the fifth to provide an insurance run.

Zabetakis retired 13 of the last 14 Watkins Mill batters, closing out the game with a strikeout of Lindsey Swinford. She allowed only three hits with four strikeouts and plenty of help from the Glen Burnie defense. Shacklock, Whelan and catcher Bonnie Nevin all made big plays to keep the Wolverines off the bases late.

"This feels great. We can't expect much more. We have eight seniors and this is our last hurrah."

We kind of push the younger players because we want to bring a state title home to Glen Burnie," said Zabetakis.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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