Moeller shuts down Urbana, 2-0

Behind pitcher's 1-hitter, RBI, Westminster wins

Softball

High School

April 18, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Westminster pitcher Nichol Moeller was so dominant yesterday, she finished with as many hits and more RBIs than she allowed the entire Urbana team.

A first-team All-Metro selection last season, Moeller retired the first 14 batters she faced, struck out seven and took a no-hitter into the seventh before finishing with a complete-game one-hit shutout. She also went 1-for-3 from the plate with an RBI single to lead the fourth-ranked Owls to a 2-0 victory over visiting Urbana in a Central Maryland Conference game.

"The drop curve and the straight fastball were working today," said Moeller, who has started every game and earned every decision for the Owls (7-2, 5-1 CMC). "A lot of them were pull hitters, so if you drop them low and on the outside, their heads come up and they pull away."

Moeller, who gave herself an insurance run with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, lost the opportunity for the no-hitter when Urbana center fielder Christina DiLernia led off the seventh with a single. The Hawks (3-5, 2-4) later had runners on first and second with two outs, but Moeller struck out Crystal Miller looking to earn the win.

"She was brilliant today," said Westminster coach Bryan Shumaker, whose team opened the scoring in the third inning when second baseman Jamie Hines came home on a wild pitch. "I was a little concerned in the first, because she was leaving the ball up a little bit. But after that she got into a groove. That's pretty typical for her. If she gets through the first inning, she's been really, really strong."

Moeller was perfect until two outs in the fifth inning. She struck out Urbana right fielder Kelly Bice swinging with a low pitch, but the ball squirted past catcher Casey Brengle, enabling Bice to reach first base.

Aside from that and an error with two outs in the seventh, Moeller was assisted admirably by her defense. In particular, shortstop Sharon Bowen had a strong game, making two catches and turning two potential infield singles into outs with good range and strong throws to first base. Bowen also went 1-for-3 with a double.

"We have improved a lot on defense," Moeller said. "At the start we were having a lot of trouble. But we are really pulling together and have more team chemistry."

Urbana pitcher Vanessa Gress (0-2) threw a four-hitter, and shortstop Carrie Geouge caught two pop-ups and turned five ground balls into outs.

"This may be the sixth or seventh time we've faced Moeller," said Urbana coach Jeanne Prevosto. "The girls know she's a good pitcher, and she works the outside real well."

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