No. 1 Westminster knocked off perch by C.M. Wright, 6-2

Mustangs turn tables

Canton throws 2-hitter

Softball

April 04, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

C. Milton Wright was one out away from winning its playoff opener last spring when a defensive lapse cost the Mustangs a chance to finish off eventual Class 4A state champion Westminster.

In yesterday's rematch, visiting Wright got even, scoring four unearned runs and turning 17 outs in the field, as pitcher Laura Canton tossed a two-hitter in a 6-2 win over the top-ranked Owls.

Despite wet and blustery conditions that prompted Wright coach Joe Dunch to lobby for the game's cancellation during a 54-minute rain delay, the Mustangs (5-1) ended the day by handing the Owls (2-1) their first loss just hours after being anointed the area's No. 1 team.

"I don't know whether that gave us more incentive, but we certainly talked about it," Dunch said. "We said that it didn't matter what the paper said or what the polls say. ... What was going to decide it was what happened between the lines."

Wright touched first team All-Metro pitcher Nichol Moeller for seven hits, including RBI singles by Ashley Heinz and Alicia Smith. Moeller went six innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out nine.

The Harford County team, coming off an extra-innings win over Havre de Grace on Tuesday, also took full advantage of four Westminster errors, including two in a three-run fourth that put the Mustangs ahead 4-2. They sent eight batters to the plate in the inning, with five of their first six reaching base.

"We didn't do the things that we try to emphasize," Westminster coach Bryan Shumaker said. "They put the ball on the ground and made us field it, and we didn't do a very good job with that. They capitalized, and they deserve a lot of credit. We were definitely not the better team today."

Said Dunch: "We got a few hits, but we also took advantage of what they gave us."

Canton was not overpowering - she had just three strikeouts - but the sophomore located her pitches well, allowing the Owls to put the ball in play. Her defense did the rest, making only one costly mistake, as a wind-blown fly ball by Megan Taylor led to both Westminster runs in the second.

"I just put it in there - I used my drop ball a lot - and my defense was really behind me," said Canton, who said she became more comfortable once staked with a lead. "I had more confidence that I could really work my pitches."

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