Two teams try to leg out triples

Atholton, Long Reach aim to beat foes for 3rd time, advance to softball finals

Notebook

High schools

May 17, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

It's not supposed to be easy to beat an opponent three times in one season, but that's what the softball teams at Atholton and Long Reach will have to do today to advance to regional finals.

Two-time defending county champion Atholton (19-3) travels to Centennial (15-5) in a Class 2A South Region semifinal game. The seventh-ranked Raiders beat the Eagles, 6-1 and 7-2, in the regular season, but Centennial is one of the hottest teams around, having won 12 of its past 14 games.

"We're playing the best we've played all season. Whether that measures up against the county champion, we'll find out Wednesday," said Centennial coach Dale Huting.

Centennial junior Amanda Hall has looked sharp in the postseason, throwing a no-hitter against Fairmont Heights and a one-hitter against Mount Hebron.

"She really looks good," Huting said. "She's come a long way since the beginning of the season, not only pitching but hitting as well."

No. 8 Atholton has won seven straight, including a 19-0 opening-round playoff victory over Southern-AA in which sophomore Katie Zitnay struck out eight en route to a perfect game. She allowed just two hits in Monday's 5-1 win over Hammond.

No. 10 Long Reach (17-4) rode the pitching of senior Kristen Schaper to beat No. 14 River Hill by 2-1 and 3-1 in the regular season. The Lightning will try to make it three in a row today at River Hill.

Hawks coach Dave Vitagliano knows firsthand that beating a team three times in a season is a challenge.

"We beat Howard twice last year and lost, 1-0, in the playoffs, so it's more than just a trite phrase," Vitagliano said.

Schaper limited the Hawks to three hits in both contests. In the second meeting, River Hill left 10 runners on base, six in scoring position. It loaded the bases with none out in the seventh, but Schaper got the next three outs in order and the Hawks didn't score.

"We hope we can execute a little better this time," said Vitagliano, whose team has averaged a little more than six runs a game during its seven-game win streak.

Schaper no-hit Annapolis in the Lightning's 10-0 playoff win Monday.

River Hill pitcher Shannon Jackson allowed five hits in both games against Long Reach and is coming off a three-hit performance against Wilde Lake. The Hawks (15-4) beat the Wildecats, 8-0, behind 13 hits.

Glenelg lost its Class 1A South Region playoff opener last Friday at Catoctin, 4-3, in eight innings. In the extra inning, the Gladiators had a runner thrown out at the plate. Two throwing errors led to Catoctin's winning run in the bottom half of the inning.

Glenelg senior catcher Nicole Barnoski, who plans to try out for the softball team next year at Salisbury State, said her team's failure to make some routine plays and inability to hit better hurt the Gladiators' chances.

Baseball

No. 13 Centennial, a 5-1 upset winner over No. 3 Mount Hebron, plays host to No. 7 Hammond today in a Class 2A South Region semifinal. Hammond rallied from four runs down in the fifth inning to beat Southern-AA, 12-9, in the quarterfinals, as Brian Brewer hit a state record-tying 13th homer. Centennial and Hammond split in the regular season.

Two-time defending state champion Glenelg, a 4-2 quarterfinal winner over Poolesville behind Jason Weszka's one-hitter, plays host to Boonsboro, which advanced to the Class 1A South Region semifinals on two byes.

River Hill, a 6-3 quarterfinal winner over Wilde Lake behind the pitching of Matt Cornelius and the hitting of Chris Becraft and Arin Gelletly, plays hosts to Annapolis in a Class 3A East Region semifinal.

Scholar athletes

Deforest McDuff of River Hill and Molly Sunderdick of Oakland Mills were selected as the Columbia Rotary Club's Robert Davidson Scholar-Athletes. Each will receive a $2,000 college scholarship award.

Alex Bailey of Oakland Mills and Meg Tilley of Hammond were runners-up and each will receive a $500 award.

Tennis

Seniors Jeanette Porteous of Hammond and Evan Lawrence of Glenelg were awarded $750 college scholarships by the Howard County Tennis Association at last Saturday's county tournament.

Girls lacrosse

No. 1 Mount Hebron (16-0) and No. 14 Glenelg (15-2) play for 3A-2A-1A regional titles today. The Vikings travel to Southern-AA for the South title, and the Gladiators play host to Bethesda-Chevy Chase for the West. The Howard County teams are two wins away from meeting in the state final.

Sun staff writer Rick Belz contributed to this article.

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