Zitnay, No. 3 Atholton shut down Howard, 4-0

Softball

High Schools

April 13, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Ask any softball coach about Atholton's Katie Zitnay, and the word that keeps coming up is consistency.

She consistently throws hard, consistently throws strikes and consistently keeps hitters guessing. That, in the end, makes her the league's most consistent winner.

Zitnay was up to her usual tricks yesterday, throwing seven shutout innings in the No. 3 Raiders' 4-0 win over visiting Howard. The two-time Howard County Player of the Year wasn't overpowering, but she never really let the Lions (5-2) get anything going after she escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning.

"Katie is always going to be the kind of pitcher who just moves the ball around the plate and relies on the defense behind her," said Atholton coach Maureen Shacreaw. "She's always going to make the other team hit balls that are playable. That's her strength."

Atholton (6-1) can also hit with consistency, which is never easy against Howard's Kristin Gormus. The senior pitched well but didn't get much help from her defense, which made four errors. In the first inning, Aubrey Barrett reached on an error, then scored on a single by Michelle McDonogh to put Atholton up 1-0.

"If we'd have scored with the bases loaded in the first inning, it might have been a different game," said Howard coach Dave Vezzi. "But they got hits in those situations today and we didn't. ... They're a very good team and you have to play your best to beat them. We didn't do that today."

The Raiders added a run in the third on shortstop Karen Lee's double, and then Zitnay made it 3-0 with an RBI double in the fifth. Lee's sacrifice fly made it 4-0. Zitnay faced only 10 hitters in the final three innings.

"We knew they had some great hitters that could put the ball in the hole, so we really prepared for that," Lee said. "Katie knows our defense will do anything to get to balls. I think we did pretty well at that today."

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