Glen Burnie stymies North County

Willis' hitting, pitching beat No. 2 team, 7-4

Softball

High Schools

March 30, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Deservedly, the sharp come-backer cleanly found the glove of Glen Burnie pitcher Tina Willis, who threw to first for the final out.

The sophomore had done just about everything else yesterday -- supplying the offense and also getting the big outs when needed to lift the No. 7 Gophers to a 7-4 win over second-ranked North County.

Willis went 3-for-4 from her leadoff spot with two triples and three runs scored. On the mound, she struck out 12 of the visitors, keeping them guessing most of the afternoon to help the Gophers (2-1) accomplish something they couldn't three times against North County last spring.

"This was an excellent win -- we came alive and grew up today," said Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino. "Tina has a lot of talent and what people forget is she's just a sophomore. I'm real proud of her and the whole team today."

After winning the Class 4A state title in 1998, the Gophers fell to 8-9 last season -- their first losing season in 20 years -- with a largely new cast. An early-season win against a quality team of North County's caliber can only help turn things around.

The Gophers got started early, getting a clutch two-out triple that scored two from sophomore catcher Jessica Griffith in the bottom of the first.

Unlike last season, they were able to find the late inning answers to bring home a win.

The two triples from Willis and another from Amanda Conley helped, along with three North County errors from the fourth inning on after the Knights (1-1) tied the game at 2 in the third.

Following the game, North County coach Brian Love wasn't in panic mode with the veteran team. Timely hitting or a lack thereof was, however, with his Knights stranding seven runners.

"We've got to work on fundamentals a little bit," said North County coach Brian Love. "Willis played a heckuva ballgame. We couldn't shut her down offensively and she pitched a good ball game. She kept us off-balance and moved the ball around real well."

The Gophers got a single and two RBI from first baseman Tiffany Jordan, one of two seniors in the lineup.

North County senior second baseman Miranda Cole reached base three times, including a triple, single and two runs scored.

The Knights will get a chance to rebound in a hurry with defending Class 3A state champ Northeast visiting Ferndale this afternoon.

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