Donaldson's tough in clutch, as Severna Park advances

Falcons edge N. County, 6-5, face Bowie next

May 22, 1999|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Last night's Class 4A East region final pitting No. 3-ranked Severna Park against No. 6 North County had so many twists and turns, determining where to start was difficult.

The end at Randazzo Park, which belonged to Falcons' senior pitcher Amanda Donaldson, seemed most appropriate.

North County (20-4), battling back all night long, got within one run and had the bases filled with one out in the seventh, when Donaldson showed she had saved her best for last.

On a three-two pitch, she got Brandi Schickton on a foul pop near first and then struck out Chrissy Suit swinging to clinch a 6-5 win, sending the Falcons to Tuesday's state semifinal against Bowie.

"It almost gave me a heart attack," said Donaldson of the bases-loaded jam. "There was a lot of pressure, but I just tried to bear down. Our team played well. We got a little shaky here and there, but what team doesn't?"

North County (17-7) was, making seven errors, including three in the second inning that helped provide Severna Park with a 4-0 lead. All six of the Falcons' runs were unearned; every one was needed.

The Knights got two unearned runs back in the bottom of the second to cut the lead in half and then answered with power.

Senior All-Metro pitcher Kellie Evans, who closed out a stellar four-year career, homered over the left-field fence to start the third. Amy Balonis then hit a one-out single and scored when Brittany Boyd ripped a double off the fence in left-center to tie the game at 4-4.

The Falcons scratched across single runs in the fourth and sixth with only one infield hit before the Knights, who pounded out 11 hits, fell one run short in a seventh inning that started with an Evans triple to the gap in right-center.

North County Brian Love wasn't sure what his team's high in errors was for a game this season but knew it wasn't close to the seven they made last night.

"You just can't make seven errors in a game like this and expect to win. What's disappointing is that we could have walked out of here with a 5-1 win," he said. "But to get the bases-loaded and have the tying run on third and the winning run at second shows the character of this team. Severna Park is a quality team. They deserved it. And Anne Arundel will be well-represented at states."

The Falcons did, indeed, earn their trip to states with a solid 3-0 week at regionals. They started with a 4-1 win over No. 2 Arundel on Monday, needed eight innings to beat No. 5 Chesapeake-AA, 3-2, on Wednesday, before surviving last night's test.

"One thing about North County is they always hit the ball well. I don't think we let down. They just picked it up," said Severna Park coach Jeff Shepherd. "And what can you say about Amanda? All season long, when there are runners in scoring positions, she shuts them down."

Fallston 5, C. Milton Wright 3: The Cougars (14-6) won the Class 3A North region title behind the pitching of Diane Molnar, who threw a complete game and earned her 13th win of the year.

North Carroll 2, Damascus 1: Meredith Gill knocked in the tying and winning runs with a triple in the third inning as the Panthers dropped Damascus for the Class 3A West title. Katie Mullinix struck out three and did not walk a batter for North Carroll, which returns to the state semifinals for the second time in three years.

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