Salisbury softball thinking small, playing big at 19-6

State notebook


April 05, 2002|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Call it "small ball" or "Billy ball" or old-fashioned softball.

Whatever the name of the game the Salisbury University women's softball team is playing, it's producing results to the tune of a 19-6 record and the No. 20 ranking in the nation in this season's first USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll.

"We've changed our style of play this season because many of our big power hitters have graduated," said coach Margie Knight.

"We no longer sit back and wait for someone to hit the ball out of the park. We're stealing bases at a much faster rate than ever, getting slap hits and turning some pretty, 6-4-3 double plays. We have a great infield."

In the middle of the Sea Gulls' infield is senior second baseman Jacki Warrington, who also happens to be the team leader in hitting with a .427 average.

"Jacki gets on any way she can and just keeps on running," said Knight, who is in her sixth year at Salisbury and has guided the team to five straight NCAA tournaments and five straight 30-plus winning seasons.

Warrington has 32 hits in 75 at-bats, with nine walks and 25 runs scored, which is second on the team. She also has stolen 20 bases in 21 attempts and leads the team in sacrifice bunts with eight.

Key teammates are junior pitcher/outfielder Katie Mullinix (North Carroll) and junior third baseman Lisa Gentilella. Mullinix is 15-5 on the mound with a 1.03 ERA, 17 complete games, 41 strikeouts and 39 walks. She's also hitting .400 and leads the team in RBIs with 22.

Gentilella is hitting .405, with 32 hits in 79 at-bats, and has team highs in doubles (10) and runs scored (30).

Free throws pay

The Mount St. Mary's women's basketball team raised more than $1,500 for the V Foundation for Cancer Research recently.

The team conducted a free-throw-shoot-a-thon, with each member of the squad getting 100 free throws, after soliciting pledges and donations for the foundation named after the late former North Carolina State basketball coach, Jim Valvano.

Second in nationals

The Johns Hopkins men's swimming team equaled its highest finish since 1981, placing second in the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Oxford, Ohio last month.

Junior Scott Armstrong led the Blue Jays by taking second in the 500 and 1,650 freestyles, swimming on the second-place 800 freestyle relay team, and finishing fourth in the 200 free.

The Hopkins women tied for the best finish in school history by taking fifth in the championships.

Junior Stephanie Harbeson paced the Jays by finishing in the top 10 in the maximum of seven events in which she competed.

Stielper in Hall

Former Andover (now North County High) basketball standout Steve Stielper will be inducted into the the James Madison University Sports Hall of Fame on April 12.

Stielper averaged 20.4 points and 8.8 rebounds in 104 career games with the Dukes. He still holds the school single-game scoring record of 51 points and is its all-time leading scorer (2,126 points) and rebounder (917).

Tigers open practice

Towson University's football team will begin spring drills tomorrow in hopes of bouncing back from a 3-7 season.

The drills will end with the annual Gold and White spring game at 4 p.m. May 4 at Minnegan Stadium.

Schlenoff quick hit

In his first start as designated hitter for the Mount St. Mary's baseball team, freshman Adam Schlenoff (Loyola) hit a three-run homer and went 2-for-4 in a 16-4 victory over Central Connecticut.

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