Pallotti outlasts Spalding

Welch helps Panthers end drought vs. No. 1 Cavs, 1-0


High School

April 18, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Streaks are usually a good thing in softball, but Amy Welch was more than willing to help Pallotti end its own dubious run.

The host Panthers broke a four-year hex by beating top-ranked Archbishop Spalding, 1-0, in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference contest yesterday at Fairland Regional Park in Laurel.

Pallotti, which had dropped the previous four meetings against the Cavaliers in the finals of the Maryland state private schools tournament, improved to 10-1, 5-0 IAAM.

"We had nothing to lose," said Welch, whose Panthers are ineligible to participate in the season-ending IAAM tournament because they are on probationary status in their first season with the conference. "We know we can't go into the championship, so we wanted to put it all out there and go for it."

The senior right-hander (9-1) contained Spalding to just five singles by mixing a variety of drop balls and drop curves with an effective changeup.

Senior Meg Cowen (4-1) was nearly as effective for Spalding -- she struck out seven Pallotti hitters and allowed just three singles -- but was victimized by an unearned run in the fourth inning.

Sophomore catcher Christina Smith opened the inning with a walk. Welch then lofted a flare down the left-field line that Cavaliers senior shortstop Christine Sheridan couldn't hang onto, allowing Welch and Smith to advance to second and third base.

Cowen got senior April Yakupkovic to line out. Senior Amy Gignac spiked a grounder to Spalding junior second baseman Keri Lounge, but her throw to home plate was a second too late to catch Smith.

Welch faced her only trouble in the top of the seventh inning.

With two outs and runners on first and second base, Cavaliers freshman Rachel Linonis laced a single to center field, but Panthers sophomore Kristin Fusco fired a perfect throw to Smith at home to tag out senior Jessica Saunders, who was attempting to score from second base.

Afterward, Spalding assistant coach Bill O'Hara, who filled in for head coach Linda Taylor, had no regrets about sending the runner home.

"My philosophy is to be aggressive and try to score the run with two outs," said O'Hara, who subbed for Taylor after she re-aggravated a neck injury during Tuesday's win against Mount de Sales. "They made a great play. What can you say?"

Spalding fell to 9-2, 7-1 IAAM, but Cowen said the loss would motivate the Cavaliers.

"I don't think it does anything to our confidence," she said. "It makes us more angry if anything."

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