N. Carroll, Smith stifle Westminster

Freshman's one-hitter shuts out No. 4 Owls, 3-0


April 23, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

North Carroll's team bus arrived more than a half-hour late for yesterday's softball game at Westminster.

Once there, however, the No. 12 Panthers and freshman pitcher Jessica Smith made quick work of the fourth-ranked Owls in a 3-0 victory.

Smith took a no-hitter into the fifth before finishing with a one-hit shutout, as North Carroll avenged a one-run loss to the defending Class 4A state champions.

It was the seventh straight win for the Panthers (9-3 overall, 7-1 Central Maryland Conference, 3-1 Carroll County) after a 2-3 start.

Smith induced the Owls (7-3, 5-2, 2-1) into 14 groundouts and allowed just three balls out of the infield in improving to 5-1 and lowering her earned-run average to nearly 0.50.

"She's a good drop-ball pitcher, and when it's working that's what they do -- they beat it into the ground," North Carroll coach Lloyd Ford said.

North Carroll's defense turned several tough plays -- including a backhand grab down the line and putout by third baseman Ashley Martin, and a charging shoe-string catch by outfielder Jess Worden.

North Carroll scored all its runs in a third inning that included singles by Katie Rliey, Lisa Worden and Ashley Devilbliss.

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