N. Carroll ousts TJ, 4-0, for third straight year

Tunney's 2-hitter avenges loss for team's 16th win

Class 3A softball

May 20, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The North Carroll softball team kept its streak alive. Unfortunately, so did Thomas Johnson.

Junior pitcher Lisa Tunney tossed a two-hit, complete-game shutout, and the host Panthers defeated their Central Maryland Conference rival, 4-0, in the third round of the Class 3A West state regional playoffs in Hampstead yesterday.

North Carroll, ranked sixth with a 16-2 record, knocked the 14-8 Patriots out of the playoffs for the third consecutive year. The Panthers had lost to Thomas Johnson, 5-4, in eight innings last Tuesday.

"They stung us last week," said North Carroll coach Rich Harvey. "So this was a real big win for us."

Junior catcher Beth Reeb, who drove in the eventual game-winning run, said her teammates were committed to avenging their loss last week. "If you lose to a team, you want to come back and beat them even more. We were real psyched about this game."

Patriots coach Steve Nibbs admired Tunney's ability to keep runners off the bases and praised the Panthers for consistency.

"Year in, year out, they're always there" in the deeper rounds of the playoffs, he said. "They're a very good team."

Tunney was nearly flawless in her seven innings of work, allowing only a bloop double to Thomas Johnson junior left fielder Katie McShea in the second inning and an infield single to sophomore second baseman Allison Koski.

North Carroll inflicted half of their damage in the third. Sophomore second baseman Trish Brown slapped a single to left field and was replaced by freshman pinch runner Christy Shafffer, who later stole second.

After Patriots senior pitcher Amanda Rhoderick struck out senior third baseman Carla Ramirez and forced junior center fielder Tiffany Langan to pop up to first, Reeb blooped Rhoderick's next pitch into center field, driving in Shaffer.

Senior shortstop Meredith Gill grounded to second but reached first safely on an error. Then senior right fielder Katie Mullinix smacked a single off Rhoderick's glove to drive in another run.

The Panthers scored two more in the fifth. With Gill and Mullinix on second and third with one out, senior first baseman Sara Clark hit a single to center, and both runners scored.

The Patriots threatened to break up the shutout bid in the top of the seventh when they put runners on second and third with two outs. But Tunney forced Thomas Johnson junior center fielder Amy Murray to ground the ball back to the mound for the final out.

Although Tunney had only three strikeouts, Harvey said he was most impressed by her ability to throw first-pitch strikes against 16 of 26 batters.

"Sometimes she gets a little inconsistent in the first and second innings, but she was real consistent today," Harvey said. "She started off throwing strikes."

Tunney said she concentrates on throwing strikes against opposing batters.

"It intimidates the batters a lot," she said. They're up there thinking, "I have to protect the plate now."

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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