C.M. Wright's Rodecker shuts down Catonsville

Mustangs gain region final with 9-0 win over Comets

High Schools

Class 3A softball

May 20, 1999|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Let it be noted that the transformation of C. Milton Wright's Erin Rodecker occurred in mid-April.

That's when Rodecker settled in as the Mustangs' leading hurler and learned to relax and just concentrate on pitching.

Rodecker hasn't swayed from that thinking, and she put forth another strong effort yesterday, allowing no runs and scattering five hits over seven innings as visiting C. Milton Wright defeated Catonsville, 9-0, in a Class 3A North region semifinal.

The Mustangs (16-6) advanced to their second straight regional championship and will play Fallston, an 18-4 winner over Kenwood, tomorrow. Wright also eliminated Catonsville for the second straight season.

"I'm just focusing in more on what I'm doing," Rodecker said. "Plus, it's good to have a catcher [Megan Hube] I know, and I worked a lot with her over the summer."

Rodecker needed just 92 pitches for her seventh shutout of the season. The Comets (14-6) had only one runner reach third base.

"Erin looks confident to me and sure of herself," said Wright coach Joe Dunch.

Rodecker also has benefitted from her defense, and yesterday the Mustangs' middle infield of shortstop Liz McSpadden and second baseman Nicole Luber got her off the hook in the third, the only inning in which Rodecker was threatened.

Trailing 4-0, Catonsville put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the third. But McSpadden smothered a hard grounder to force Chrissy Blake at second, then Luber cut down another hard-hit ball and retired Lauren Rosenberg for the third out.

"When we get some runs, I can relax knowing my defense is behind me," said Rodecker.

Said Catonsville coach Bill Nelson: "We hit their pitching, it just happened to be right at somebody. We were really one hit away from being in the game early."

The Comets also didn't get much help from pitcher Rosenberg, who labored from the start, walking five of the first 11 batters she faced. Rosenberg walked four during a 40-pitch second inning in whichthe Mustangs moved ahead 2-0.

Ashley Blevins drove in a run with a single in the fourth and later scored on a wild pitch by Rosenberg that pushed Wright's lead to 4-0.

"She just didn't have her control [yesterday]," Nelson said of Rosenberg, "and she was trying to aim too much instead of just throwing her game."

After stranding six runners and having another picked off at third through six innings, the Mustangs finished the Comets with a four-run seventh.

Wright loaded the bases with two walks and a single by Rodecker before Hube scored on a wild pitch. The Mustangs' final three runs came on a forced out by Blevins, a sacrifice fly by Erin Armstrong and a run-scoring single by McSpadden.

"We didn't hit the ball extremely well, but it was a little more comforting to get more of a cushion late in the game. You never have too many runs in a playoff game," said Dunch.

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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