Long Reach hands Atholton game, first

Raiders take advantage of six errors for 7-1 win

Softball

High Schools

April 07, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Atholton took advantage of Long Reach's sloppiness to hand the Lightning its first loss of the season, 7-1, yesterday at Long Reach.

The defending county champion Raiders, ranked No. 8, pulled into a first-place tie with Long Reach at 7-1 in the county standings. River Hill, which defeated Atholton, and Glenelg are tied for third at 5-2.

Long Reach second baseman Rachel Jordan said her team "was great" in pregame warm-ups. But the Lightning committed six errors in the game, and played with a lack of intensity.

"We played horrible," said Jordan, who had three errors. "I don't know if it was the pressure. I don't know what it was. It's frustrating because we know we're better than that."

Added Long Reach coach Chuck Struhar: "I'm disappointed because we pride ourselves on good defense, and we didn't have that today. They gave [pitcher Kristen Schaper] absolutely no support."

The Lightning had four errors in the second inning. Those mistakes, plus three wild pitches, a passed ball, a walk and three singles helped the Raiders to a 5-0 lead.

"We got out early and that was the key to the game," said Atholton coach John Zitko. "We came out wanting to be aggressive and get into their heads and it worked for us."

Atholton capitalized on two more Long Reach errors in the sixth inning to add their final runs.

Meanwhile, Atholton pitcher Katie Zitnay had her usual solid effort. She allowed two singles, struck out one and walked one. Her one walk to lead off the seventh inning led to Long Reach's run.

While Zitnay said her speed is about the same as last season, she said she is more accurate and has more movement on the ball this season.

And she doesn't feel she needs to strike out everyone to be successful.

"I'm very confident in my defense," said Zitnay, whose catcher, Sarah Costa, is calling the pitches this season. "I'll make the pitches I need to make and let the defense make the out."

Schaper, who struck out 14 Howard batters in a 7-0 win Monday, had two of her six strikeouts in the first inning. But Costa, who had two of Atholton's eight hits, led off the second with a single and eight more batters followed in the five-run inning.

Zitnay retired the first 10 Lightning batters before Ashley Naimaster's single in the fourth. Zitnay sent down the next eight before the lead-off walk in the seventh.

And while Long Reach's outfield was not sharp, the Raiders' threesome of Julie Frostbutter, Tiffany Mathis and Aubrey Barrett covered a lot of ground and all had at least one good catch.

Zitnay said her team "had something to prove today," and suggested that Long Reach was overrated.

"They were not all the newspaper cracked them up to be," Zitnay said. "River Hill was better than them. River Hill is going to be the team for us to beat."

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