Thrown a curve, McDonogh wins

All-Metro pitcher gone, No. 8 Eagles rev up bats in thwarting Mercy, 7-1

High Schools

Softball

April 03, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The McDonogh softball team is looking to turn a subtraction into an addition.

With their standout pitcher taking an indefinite leave of absence, the No. 8 Eagles revived their bats in a 7-1 thumping of Mercy in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game in Owings Mills yesterday.

McDonogh, which shocked Archbishop Spalding last season for the IAAM championship, will defend the title without All-Metro pitcher Mia Zappacosta.

Zappacosta, who posted a 14-5 record with a 1.01 ERA and 176 strikeouts as a sophomore last season, left the team a week ago to deal with what Eagles coach Bridget Collins called "personal issues."

"I know it has to be serious if she's going to give up something she loves so much," Collins said. "I always thought in the back of my mind, `What if Mia got hurt?' It's reality now, but instead of sticking their tails between their legs, the team has decided to play together and win."

Without Zappacosta, McDonogh (2-2, 2-0 conference) has had four players handle the pitching.

Sophomore Medley McGuire, the team's starting catcher, took the mound yesterday and proved to be too much for the Magic (1-2, 0-2 conference).

McGuire (1-1) allowed just one run and two hits and struck out five.

"I haven't pitched a lot, but I know I like to get ahead in the count," said McGuire, whose sister, Meghan, was the catcher. "It helps to throw to my sister because we work together."

After getting outscored 32-13 in a tournament at South Carroll last Saturday and dropping seven spots from their preseason No. 1 ranking, the Eagles took out their frustration on Magic senior pitcher Katie Harris (0-2).

McDonogh pounded out 10 hits and broke open a 2-1 game with five runs in the fourth inning.

Senior Patrice Johnson went 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored, while Medley McGuire was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

The experience that McDonogh gained from its championship run may be needed as the Eagles approach the meat of their conference schedule with contests against No. 3 Archbishop Spalding, No. 13 Catholic and No. 15 John Carroll next week.

The Eagles said they don't intend to give up their IAAM crown so easily.

"Mia is a great pitcher, but we know that we have to play out the season," Johnson said. "We can't just stop. We have to go out and do our best."

Collins said Zappacosta will retain her roster spot until she tells the coach otherwise.

"It's not exactly what they [the Eagles] anticipated in a year they're trying to defend the conference title," Collins said. "But instead of hanging their heads, they're playing as a team. That's perhaps the best thing to come out of this."

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