Atholton grounds helpful Eagles, 6-1

7 Centennial errors aid defending champ Raiders

March 24, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Defending county champion Atholton is good enough to win games on its own. Yesterday, Centennial gave the Raiders a helpful hand, committing seven errors with a predictable result.

Atholton took advantage of Centennial's generosity and added its own nine-hit attack for a 6-1 victory in the season opener for both teams. The visiting Raiders had at least one hit every inning and got a solid four-hit pitching performance from sophomore Katie Zitnay.

"They played really well. They played as a team," said Atholton coach John Zitko. "They were talking, they were backing each other up, they were staying positive. That was the most encouraging thing I could have seen."

The view from the other bench wasn't as nice. Centennial, which finished 8-10 in the county last season, expected to be much improved. The Eagles still could be, but yesterday, they didn't show it.

"We weren't making any routine plays, and those are the plays that make the game," said Centennial junior left fielder Laura Angle, whose first-inning double to center was the hardest hit of the game. "We practice well. We practice as a team. But we need to bring that to the game now."

Added Centennial coach Dale Huting: "We just need to develop into the type of team our potential suggests."

Atholton's potential is well known after going 17-1 last season in the county. And the Raiders looked as solid as ever against Centennial, especially Aubrey Barrett, who has moved from second base to right field.

"We played good defense and kept our heads in the game," said sophomore first baseman Kelly Kemp, who had three hits and scored a run.

"We played awesome," said Zitnay. "We were positive and everyone kept their cool."

The Eagles committed two errors in the first, fourth and sixth innings and a single miscue in the third. Atholton scored all its runs in those four innings. Leadoff hitter Karen Lee scored three times and Stacy DeFino, Tiffany Mathis and Zitnay each had RBIs.

Centennial junior Amanda Hall, who suffered a knee injury last season and pitched only three games, got the start yesterday. Hall gave up nine singles, walked three and struck out two.

"I think I did well, but things didn't come together like we wanted them to," said Hall.

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