Babish to Babish: Pitch strikes

Wildecats' pitcher takes signs from her dad-coach

Howard notebook

April 11, 1999|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Wilde Lake softball coach Sal Milio and pitcher Jen Babish had a few disagreements last season when Milio was calling the pitches.

Not this year. Milio leaves that duty to his pitching coach.

"A pitcher has got to be comfortable with the pitches called, and no one knows her abilities better then her pitching coach," Milio said.

And that would be Dan Babish, Jen's father.

"I really enjoy it," said Dan. "I've been an assistant coach with her summer-league team for four years, and I started calling pitches last summer. It was a lot of fun."

Said Babish, the pitcher: "I'm enjoying it. I think it's working well."

It's certainly working for the No. 11-ranked Wildecats, who are 5-0 and tied for first place in the county with Atholton.

Babish, who has a 0.68 ERA, struck out four and allowed four hits and walked a batter in Wilde Lake's 3-2 win over previously unbeaten River Hill on Friday.

The Wildecats took a 1-0 lead on a throwing error in the third and added another in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Babish and Lindsey Smardon.

For River Hill, falling behind was nothing knew.

The 14th-ranked Hawks had trailed Long Reach, 6-2, after four innings and won, 7-6; trailed 4-2 against Glenelg in the fifth and won in eight innings, 5-4; trailed Good Counsel 5-0 after four in the River Hill tournament and won, 14-6; and last Wednesday trailed Howard, 3-0, in the third and won 4-3.

The Hawks tied the game against Wilde Lake in the sixth.

Aneesha Griffin and Amanda Bile had consecutive singles and advanced to third and second on an infield out. Kelli Myers' bunt was fielded by Babish, who looked to third and threw to first for the out. Griffin scored ahead of the throw back to home.

Wilde Lake catcher Sara Taliano returned the ball to Babish, who started to return to the mound. Bile, however, never stopped running and scored ahead of the tag by Taliano to tie the game.

"That was a stupid play to give up," Babish said. "I have to pay attention better."

River Hill pitcher Shannon Jackson walked the bases loaded with not outs in the bottom of the six. But a force out at home and a double play ended the inning.

Megan Lucks reached second to open the bottom of the seventh on a throwing error by shortstop Bile. A single by Smardon moved Lucks to third, and she scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Diane Caporaletti.

"A win like this makes us feel good about ourselves and shows we can beat a good team," said Babish, who received a partial academic scholarship to attend Mount St. Mary's.

Wilde Lake has six sophomores, one junior and two seniors in the starting lineup. It's a young team but hardly inexperienced. All the sophomores were on the varsity last year, and most of the team plays year-round.

"Everyone in the starting lineup played at least 40 games over the summer and at a competitive level," said Milio. "That makes them better players."

Atholton survived six errors and got past Centennial, 8-6, in eight innings on Friday.

The game ended, however, with Atholton junior shortstop Jessica McDonagh taking an ambulance ride to St. Agnes Hospital.

"I asked them if they would turn on the siren but they wouldn't," said McDonagh, who got hurt after the game.

"Me and my friend [catcher Sarah Costa] jumped up and did a belly bump to celebrate, and I don't know if I stepped on somebody's foot or a clump of grass, but my ankle just rolled over."

McDonagh has been told to stay off her badly sprained left ankle. She hopes to play Wednesday when Atholton plays Wilde Lake.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to play," said McDonagh. "If I don't, Karen Lee will step in. I have all the faith in her. She'd do just fine."

Lee is one of five freshmen on the team that, said McDonagh, "have really contributed" to the team's surprising start.

In the game, Centennial tied the score on Kim Paulus' three-run home run in the seventh.

In the extra inning, Atholton scored twice without a hit. Aubrey Barrett started on second for the Raiders. She stole third and came home when the catcher's throw went into left field. Stacy DeFino walked, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Kelly Kemp's groundout.

Centennial sophomore pitcher Amanda Hall is out of action.

"The cartilage under my [right] knee cap is inflamed, and that's why I can't move it," said Hall, who is wearing a knee brace, last pitched March 26, and starts physical therapy Wednesday. "I hope to be back around [April] 20th."

Sophomore Rebecca Decesare pitched against Atholton and will do so again tomorrow against visiting Wilde Lake. She walked four and struck out seven, and at the plate went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Long Reach coach Chuck Struhar will be missing several starters because of a band trip when the Lightning travels to Howard tomorrow. Pitcher Kristen Schaper, who missed her last start because of neck pain, might be ready.

"We're just waiting," Struhar said. "If her neck is better she'll pitch."

Schaper threw a no-hitter last season against the Lions.

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