Zitnay tosses two-hitter, sparks Atholton's 6-0 win

Starter for No. 4 Raiders allows only 2 singles in shutting down Centennial

Softball

High School

March 22, 2002|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,SUN STAFF

Centennial's Marianne Klingaman opened her softball season with a leadoff infield hit off Atholton ace Katie Zitnay in the first inning. Then in the sixth, Klingaman smacked a base hit to center field.

That concludes the offensive highlights for the Eagles.

In between Klingaman's singles - the first of which was a dribbler that traveled about five feet - Zitnay retired 17 straight batters, finishing with a two-hitter to lead the fourth-ranked Raiders to a 6-0 victory at Centennial in the season opener for both Howard County teams.

Zitnay, keeping the Eagles off balance with an assortment of changeups, curveballs and fastballs, did not go to two balls on any hitter, allowed just four balls out of the infield, struck out three, and did not let a runner reach past second base.

She was especially efficient in innings three through five, as she threw just 13 pitches in retiring nine consecutive hitters.

Zitnay, a senior who already is a two-time Howard County Player of the Year, was just as businesslike after the game.

"I just want to say that it was a great first game of the season and I hope we have a lot more like it. That's all I want to say," she said.

Kelly Kemp, Michelle McDonogh and Zitnay each had two hits for the Raiders, who took a 2-0 lead after four innings before blowing the game open with a four-run seventh.

Atholton, back-to-back state finalists, had runners in scoring position in every inning against Klingaman, but the junior pitcher battled to keep the Eagles close. She wasn't helped by her defense, which committed five errors that led to four unearned runs.

"She had a good outing for her first year being the No. 1 pitcher," Centennial coach Dale Huting said of Klingaman, who pitched five games last season.

"Atholton is an outstanding team, and I'm real happy with the way we played," added Huting, who has just two seniors on his team and starts two freshmen and two sophomores.

The Raiders jumped out to a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the first. With one out, Karen Lee reached on an error by left fielder Christina Evans, then stole second and took third on catcher Angela Brudis' throwing error. Zitnay followed with an RBI single to left.

Atholton made it 2-0 in the fourth on Meghan Murphy's two-out, RBI double. Aubrey Barrett had walked to lead off the inning, stole second and was sacrificed to third by Katie Macfarland.

The way Zitnay was pitching, two runs were more than enough, but the Raiders erased any doubts about the outcome by scoring four runs on three hits, three errors, two stolen bases and a wild pitch in the seventh.

"I think we came out tight offensively, but our fielding was consistent and Katie's pitching was very consistent all day," Atholton coach Maureen Shacreaw said. "[Katie] came in really focused and prepared for the season."

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