Tunney, North Carroll shut down Fallston, 4-0

Pitcher's 3-hit shutout propels Panthers into state championship

3A softball

May 26, 1999|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Facing some of the toughest pitching they've seen all season, the North Carroll Panthers haven't hit the ball with much authority of late.

Then again, as they showed yesterday in the Class 3A state semifinals against Fallston, they don't always have to.

The sixth-ranked Panthers got a three-hit shutout from pitcher Lisa Tunney and scored three unearned runs en route to a 4-0 win over the No. 15-ranked Cougars at Randazzo Park.

The win puts North Carroll (20-2) into Friday's 7 p.m. championship game against Northeast, which was a 2-1 winner over Thomas Stone in the other semifinal.

To get there, the Panthers first had to figure a way to score off Fallston hurler Diane Molnar.

"The pitching was a little slower than what we were used to, so the first time around was basically getting used to the speed," said North Carroll's Katie Mullinix. "The second time around, we made pretty solid hits."

They also took advantage of Fallston's shaky defense.

North Carroll took a 1-0 lead in the second when Sara Clark led off with a single, went to second on Angie Smith's walk and scored when Trish Brown reached on a fly to the gap that was mishandled by center fielder Angela Levy.

Fallston (14-7) threatened in the third, putting runners on second and third with two outs before Tunney got Jessica Brockmeyer to fly out to right, ending the inning.

The Panthers then extended their lead in the third when with one out Meredith Gill singled and Mullinix followed with an RBI triple into the gap in right-center, making it 2-0.

With the chance to extend their lead in the fourth, the Panthers ran themselves out of the inning when two runners were thrown out on an attempted double steal, including pinch runner Lisa Worden at the plate.

Fallston, however, was unable to take advantage.

After committing two throwing errors that allowed Molnar to reach third with nobody out, the Panthers kept the run from scoring by coming up with a fielder's choice play that ended with the runner being tagged out at the plate.

"With the exception of that one inning where we threw the ball around a little, our defense was exceptional," said North Carroll coach Rich Harvey.

"Even in that one inning where we didn't play great, we came up with a couple of big plays that helped us out."

The Panthers then took advantage of another Fallston error to score two more in the sixth, putting the game out of reach.

"That hurt," said Fallston coach Donald Buchanan, who nonetheless said the loss couldn't mar an otherwise stellar season in which his team recovered from a 2-3 start. "We got it together and the girls really worked hard. The girls would've liked to have gone further, but we lost to a good team today."

Athletes of week

The Sun's Athletes of the Week will be published tomorrow. Nominations for the school year's final two selections, to be published next week, can be made Sunday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at 410-332-6200 or 1-800-829-8000, ext. 6200.

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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