Pleasant surprise for Howard

Minus 3 All-County players, Lions are 2-0 in softball

Girls notebook

High Schools

March 26, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

A year ago, Howard's softball squad was the team to beat going into the season. But the Lions lost three of their first six games and ended the county season with six losses and a fourth-place finish.

The Lions graduated three all-county players -- their starting pitcher, catcher and shortstop -- and expectations this season are not as great. That's just fine with coach Dave Vezzi.

"I like to be low-key," Vezzi said. "There's less pressure on the kids."

Howard is off to a better start than last season. The Lions beat Mount Hebron, 4-3, Thursday, then surprised 15th-ranked Wilde Lake, 4-0, Friday.

"We played a really good game [against Wilde Lake]," said Vezzi. "Fundamentally, we played very good defense."

Wilde Lake coach Sal Milio agreed.

"Howard played excellent defense. They didn't make an error, and we hit some balls at them, too," Milio said.

Shortstop Beth Myers, an outfielder last season, has excellent range and made some nice plays against the Wildecats. Senior center fielder Kim Palmer made a good catch near the fence of Grazia Silvestro's hard hit with two runners on in the first inning.

Palmer, who went 4-for-5 in Howard's 12-hit attack against Mount Hebron, had two more hits against Wilde Lake. Senior second baseman Lindsey Hasiuk added a hit and two RBIs for the Lions.

Sophomore pitcher Kristin Gormus limited Wilde Lake to three hits, two in the first inning. She also struck out two.

Milio said he was pleased with pitcher Kristy Kaiser's effort. The Wildecats made two errors, and both were costly. "She hasn't allowed an earned run. She's pitched well for us," Milio said.

The Wildecats have a challenging week ahead with games against River Hill, Atholton and Long Reach.

Eighth-ranked Atholton got all it could handle from visiting Glenelg in a 1-0 win on Friday.

"It was a great game," said Atholton coach John Zitko. "No one made an error, so both teams had to earn what they got."

The Raiders (2-0) scored in the bottom of the seventh. Jessica McDonagh led off with a single against Shannon Emerson. A bunt by Colette Pond moved McDonagh to second, and Kelly Kemp singled home the game-winner.

Zitko complimented Glenelg's defense. "It's just incredible, especially their infield," Zitko said.

Glenelg coach Dean Sheridan said he was "very pleased" with his team's effort. "We walked into the game and went toe to toe with Atholton. It was an even game."

The Gladiators' best chance to score came in the fourth inning, but they left the bases loaded.

Girls lacrosse

The weather was perfect. There were hundreds of spectators in the stands. Everything was ready for Friday's game at Mount Hebron between the top-ranked Vikings and No. 6 Roland Park.

Everything, that is, except a second official.

Because of a scheduling error, a second official never arrived, and both teams agreed not to play. Oralee Smith, commissioner of the Howard/Carroll officials association, took the blame.

"It's unfortunate that it happened, and I certainly hope it doesn't happen again," Smith said. "Mistakes happen."

Both coaches wanted to reschedule the game for tomorrow, but Smith said there were no available officials. April 3 is a possible makeup date.

Meanwhile, Mount Hebron must wait until Friday when they play at St. Mary's to start its season. And while practice makes perfect, the Vikings are eager to play a game that counts.

"I think we're ready to play someone other than ourself," said senior Lauren Kickham.

Added Kickham about Friday's non-game: "We were all pumped to play, and now it's an emotional letdown. We'll be really disappointed if we can't play them."

Centennial traveled to fourth-ranked Notre Dame Prep Thursday for its season-opener, but no officials showed up. The game, which had been rescheduled from Tuesday, was played as a scrimmage and NDP won, 13-7.

Coaches from both teams served as referees.

The Eagles played well in the first half, which ended in 6-6. But the Blazers took control early in the second half and Centennial's defense couldn't stay with them.

"They just dominated us," said Centennial coach Katie Marks. "Defensively we were strong in the beginning of the game, but we lost it. We couldn't stay tight on their cutters."

Caitlin Marshall led the Eagles with two goals.

River Hill lost its season-opener Thursday night at Arundel, 9-3. The Hawks trailed, 5-3, at halftime, but couldn't get untracked in the second half.

"We fell apart," said River Hill coach Becky Stefano. "They took us completely out of our game, and we lost our composure."

Many on the River Hill sideline felt the officiating was questionable. River Hill junior Kelsey Cronin drew a red card when she banged her stick into the ground. Cronin will sit out tomorrow's home game against Seton Keough.

Wilde Lake opened its season with a wild 18-16 win over Francis Scott Key. Emily Sawyer and Rebecca Valle led the Wildecats with six and four goals, respectively.

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