Atholton keeps the competition scoreless again

2-0 Raiders shut out Centennial, 8-0

Zitnay retires first 10 batters

High Schools

Softball

March 25, 2001|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Two games into the season, Atholton's softball team has shown no kinks in its armor.

The two-time defending Howard County champion registered its second shutout in less than 24 hours yesterday with an 8-0 victory against visiting Centennial.

"There're still a few things to come together, but I'm pleased with how we've started," said Atholton coach John Zitko, whose team downed Glenelg, 8-0, in Friday's season opener.

For the second straight game, the fifth-ranked Raiders scored three runs in the first inning.

Aubrey Barrett and Karen Lee had back-to-back singles, and Katie Zitnay reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases for cleanup hitter Sarah Costa.

The All-County catcher crushed a 2-2 pitch from Amanda Hall into right-center field for a stand-up triple.

"I hit it right and it went pretty far," said Costa, who also had a double against Glenelg. "It felt good. I was glad to get it done."

Zitnay, an All-County pitcher, took over from there. She retired the first 10 batters before Hall reached on an error, then four more after that. Melissa Boone's two-out single in the fifth inning was Centennial's first hit.

"She's throwing the ball exceptionally well," Zitko said of his junior pitcher.

Zitnay said she has concentrated recently on throwing a good first pitch, as well as continuing to work on her location.

"I'm just going to leave [the speed] the way it is," said Zitnay, who gave up five hits, struck out six and walked one. "My location is key right now."

Hall allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked six, including the leadoff hitter in the last four innings. Three of those leadoff walks scored.

And Centennial's infield committed three errors, two of them throwing mistakes that allowed Atholton runners to score.

The Raiders scored a run in the third without a hit, then added three more in the fourth. Zitnay's hard-hit ground-ball double down the left-field line scored two of the runs.

The 12th-ranked Eagles (1-1) had two hits in both the fifth and sixth innings, but stranded five runners, four in scoring position.

"We should walk away feeling confident because by the end of the game we were putting the ball back into play," said Centennial coach Dale Huting. "So hopefully we'll give them a better game next time."

For Atholton, which last season came within three outs of winning the Class 2A state title, it's a good way to start.

"We've got athletic talent on the field and on the bench. Everybody can play," Zitnay said. "I think we're just as good [as last season]."

Added Costa: "We're playing together and we're playing hard. We've been [to the state tournament] before, and we know what we have to do to get back there."

No. 6 Chesapeake 6, South River 3: The Cougars (2-0), fresh off their victory over No. 3 Glen Burnie on Friday, got a triple, single and two runs scored from freshman Christina Bales to defeat the Seahawks (0-2).

Chesapeake sealed the win in the sixth inning when senior Kristi Ellenberger scored on a wild pitch and Bales slid into home on a fielder's choice.

"We're still happy about winning [Friday]," Bales said of the 1-0 season-opening victory. "But beating South River made it better."

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