Sheridan keeps Spalding in front

Diving stop in 8th inning prevents tie as No. 1 team beats 8th-ranked IND, 3-2

Softball

High Schools

April 10, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Statistics just won't reflect how critical Christine Sheridan's defense was to the Archbishop Spalding softball team.

Only the handful of fans who braved a constant rain yesterday can bear witness to the senior shortstop's diving save that helped the top-ranked Cavaliers outlast No. 8 Institute of Notre Dame, 3-2, in eight innings of an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference matchup at Patterson Park in Baltimore.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, the bases loaded and visiting Spalding trying to protect a 3-1 lead, Sheridan ranged to her right to snare a grounder by Indians sophomore Ashley Gray.

Although one runner scored, Sheridan was able to flip the ball to senior third baseman Missy Gunther for the force at third and keep IND at first and second base with two outs. The next batter grounded out to end the game.

"I was not going to let that ball go by," Sheridan said. "That's something that you work on in practice. ... It felt nice to do that."

Sheridan's effort did not go unnoticed by her coach, Linda Taylor. "She had the play of the game," Taylor said.

If Sheridan hadn't been there, "It would be a different game right now."

Senior Meg Cowen earned the victory by pitching a complete game, striking out eight and allowing just one hit -- the fourth straight time the Cavaliers (7-1, 5-0 IAAM) have yielded just one hit in a contest.

Gray (8-3) was nearly as masterful for IND, going the distance and striking out seven. But with freshman Rachel Linonis standing at second base in the top of the eighth inning (in extra-inning games, the batter who makes the last out in the previous inning starts the next inning on second), Gray hung a 1-0 pitch over the plate that Cowen blasted for a home run.

A fielder's choice allowed senior Kristen Marll to score and give the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead.

The Indians (8-3, 1-1) made things interesting in their final at-bat by loading the bases with no outs.

With senior Sarah Grabenstein starting at second base, freshman Ashley Dennis and junior Stacey Pokrywka drew back-to-back walks. A fielder's choice helped senior Sarah Grabenstein cross the plate to make it a 3-1 score.

Freshman Courtney O'Hara walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Sheridan's heroics.

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