Lightning stops play in county title game

Franklin and Hereford forced to share crown

May 11, 2000|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

No.7 Franklin's claim to a fourth consecutive outright Baltimore County softball championship was ended yesterday as lightning forced stoppage of its title game with Hereford in the top of the fifth inning. Instead, both teams will share the county title.

The Indians were leading 3-0 with two outs and two strikes in the Bulls' at-bat before game umpires halted play when they saw lightning in the threatening skies. The rain came a few minutes later, and after a mandatory 30- minute wait, the game was called.

"If we had won it on the field, I'd be jumping up and down," said Hereford coach Sam Bowen. "I'm sorry it ended this way. I'd rather settle it on the field."

Said Franklin starting pitcher Jamie Widerman: "I don't think they should have called it. One more batter wouldn't had much of a difference."

Ron Belinko, supervisor of athletics for Baltimore County, said last night that both teams would have to share the title if the game wasn't completed.

Belinko was in attendance yesterday with assistant supervisor Jill Masterson. Though today is the final open date for softball and baseball play before the start of the state tournament tomorrow, Belinko didn't want the title game hanging over the teams.

"We had everything set up with the coaches that we didn't want to interfere with the playoffs," Belinko said. "It wouldn't be fair to the kids to have to play back-to-back games in this situation."

Hereford (14-4), which won the Division II title, begins tourney play at Towson in a Class 2A North first round game tomorrow afternoon. Franklin (14-3), winners of five of the past six county titles, will host Bel Air in a 3A North quarterfinal match Monday afternoon.

With the threat of thunderstorms, the game started a few minutes ahead of its original 4 p.m. time. The Indians scored in the first inning as Jen Fried hit a line drive into left-center field and came around to score.

The Bears' best scoring opportunity came in the second with runners at first and third, but Widerman got designated hitter Lindsey Burnette to foul out, ending the threat.

Franklin cemented its lead in the third against Hereford starter Alie Meisel. Suzie Gill beat Bears' first basemen Kim Thompson's throw home after a groundout. C.J. Luers singled home Fried for a 3-0 margin.

The Bears had only one hit against Widerman, who had five strikeouts. The senior was a strike away from ending the fifth, which would have made the game official.

"The kids felt good about it, they wanted to play," said Franklin coach Rick Wiscott.

Spalding 5, Seton Keough 0 (suspended, 7th inn.): The No.1 Cavaliers are three outs away from advancing to Saturday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference Tournament championship game.

The Cavaliers took a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning yesterday against visiting Seton Keough when lightning and rain suspended play at Randazzo Park. The game will resume where it left off this afternoon at 3:45 with the Gators down to their last at-bats.

The championship game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Towson University. Today's winner will meet either Mount de Sales or McDonogh in the final. In yesterday's other semifinal, also suspended due to the bad weather, the Sailors had a 7-1 lead against McDonogh going into the fifth inning.

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