Northeast hits wall, drops title game, 4-0

Sparkling play shown in 17-game streak vanishes in loss to Northern-Calvert

Class 3A softball

May 30, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Northeast picked a bad time to be human.

Hurt by a series of errors, a lack of hitting and a case of nerves, the top-ranked Eagles fell to Northern of Calvert, 4-0, in the Class 3A state softball championship at Randazzo Park in Severn last night.

The loss - only Northeast's third in 12 trips to the final - denied the Anne Arundel school a chance to add a 10th state title to the program's record nine and ended the Eagles' 17-game winning streak.

During that binge, Northeast had a knack for getting the timely run (an average of eight a game) and stout pitching (10 runs allowed).

Last night, however, the well ran dry.

"We didn't play up to our level, and I think a lot of that had to do with nerves," said Eagles coach Marianne Shultz. "We were letting down and not coming back fired up."

Although senior Rachel Herrick and junior Kristin Duvall split most of the games on the mound, the former was the staff ace and had propelled Northeast (22-4) to the ultimate stage.

But unlike previous outings, Herrick (9-1) couldn't keep the Patriots off the base paths. She escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam in the second inning courtesy of a force at home plate and a strikeout.

Northern (19-4) didn't miss its next opportunity. After a one-out error by shortstop Karen Kotofski allowed Patriots senior Amanda Mason to reach first base in the fourth inning, sophomore Pam Greenwell blooped a single to right field to put two runners on.

On Herrick's next pitch, senior Lacy Stallings lofted a bases-clearing triple down the left-field line.

Junior Cory Karcesky then laid down a bunt, but Herrick's throw to first base hit Karcesky in the back. The ball rolled to the fence, allowing Stallings to score.

Mason's RBI single in the fifth came against Duvall, who spelled Herrick in that inning.

Karcesky (16-3) scattered four hits and struck out five to give the Patriots their fourth state crown in eight tries.

Eagles senior center fielder Erin Gray said the key was the team's inability to respond to its misplays.

"We've made errors in the past, but we didn't come back strong," she said. "Normally, we would do something to fix it, like getting some good at-bats. We didn't do that."

After the final out, several Northeast players succumbed to their emotions, crying and leaning on teammates for support.

Third baseman Steph Adams summed up the feelings of many of her teammates.

"Being a senior, to come so far and get to this game, you never want to lose," she said. "Unfortunately, there are two teams and only one winner."

N-Calvert 000 310 0 -- 4 4 2

Northeast 000 000 0 -- 0 4 4

C.Karcesky and L.Stallings; Herrick, Duvall (5) and Tewey. 3B: N-C-L.Stallings.

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