Parkville captures Balto. Co. title, 7-3

Knights score 1st 5 runs, then hold off Loch Raven as Vlach strikes out 10

Softball

High schools

May 09, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When assessing the strengths of her 15th-ranked Parkville softball team, Knights coach Karen Locke did not hesitate in pointing to seniors Kris Vlach and Sherri Rauenzahn.

These strengths were clearly on display yesterday, as Vlach struck out 10 batters and allowed just three hits and catcher Rauenzahn had a single and a run scored to lead Parkville to a 7-3 victory over host Loch Raven in the Baltimore County final.

"They have been here for four years, and they have played a lot of ball together," Locke said of Vlach and Rauenzahn. "It is a good way to start out the regionals. Our tournament experience will certainly help us."

"This is one of the best seasons we have ever had, and the county championship means a lot more coming in our senior years," said Rauenzahn, who ended the game when she cut down sophomore Caroline Merrey trying to steal second.

Junior Lynda Keller (3-for-4) had an RBI single and senior Melissa Herman contributed a sacrifice fly as Parkville (12-2), the defending Class 4A North Regional champion, scored three runs in the top of the first off Merrey.

The Knights added two more in the second to take a 5-0 lead. Vlach looped a single over the infield and junior Brandye Dobbeck (2-for-4), who got on with a single, and classmate Michelle Manella scored when a Loch Raven throw bounced past Raiders third baseman Kendall Zumbrun.

"The early lead ... gave us a lot of breathing room," Locke said.

The five-run deficit proved disastrous for Loch Raven (12-6), which was overwhelmed by Vlach for most of the afternoon. Vlach struck out the side in the first and again in the third. The Raiders did muster one run in the third when Merrey, who was hit by a pitch, stole second and came around to score on an errant throw.

Loch Raven also threatened with a big inning in the fifth. After Merrey hit an RBI single and later scored herself on another bad throw, Vlach settled down to strike out Melissa Fridinger and Jessica Donlin.

When Loch Raven was putting the ball in play against Vlach, the Parkville defense was more than up to the task. Second baseman Lauren Murray made two solid defensive plays in the sixth, ranging to her right to snag a Heather Funk liner, and going even deeper into the hole to catch Zumbrun's blooper.

"I felt that Lauren stepped up a lot today," Vlach said. "Our defense has really improved."

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