Dulaney jumps on E. Tech, gains playoff ground, 6-2

Lions score first five runs, roll behind Monte's 3-hitter


April 28, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The Dulaney softball team surprised many last season by reaching the Class 4A state final.

It's safe to say that no one is taking the Lions lightly this season. They reinforced that point with a 6-2 victory over host Eastern Tech yesterday in Baltimore.

The Lions, who moved down to 3A this season, improved to 9-3 and took a step closer to clinching one of the top four seeds in the North Region - which includes No. 9 Fallston and No. 10 Franklin.

Last season, Dulaney fell to eventual state champion Westminster, 1-0, despite owning a 12-11 record. With only three players graduated from that team, the Lions are unanimous in their conviction that just making an appearance at Randazzo Park, the site of the state tournament, won't be good enough.

"I think our performance last year was surprising, even to us," said senior Deirdre Daily. "This year, we're doing what we expected to do, and we want to win a state title."

The Lions were well-prepared for the speed of junior Tina Birchfield's pitching. Days of practicing with a batting machine tuned to 60 mph paid off when Dulaney opened with two runs.

Daily began the inning with an infield single and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Freshman Erin Ober's single put runners on the corners.

Ober stole second base on the first pitch to junior Kate Marchant. Attempting to catch Daily leaning off third base, Birchfield (11-2) intercepted catcher Stephanie Weaver's throw to second base and fired the ball to third.

But the ball skipped off third baseman Tracey Blackwell's glove and into left field; Daily scored easily while Ober moved to third. Marchant then reached first on a fielding error, which allowed Ober to score.

Dulaney added three more runs in the fifth. Another Mavericks fielding error, an RBI single by junior Deana Zornow and a wild pitch sparked the burst.

Eastern Tech (12-4) finally tagged Lions junior pitcher Stephanie Monte (6-2) for two runs in the sixth.

Monte struck out only four batters, but gave up just three infield singles. "I know they're a good hitting team," she said. "I just wanted to move the ball around, change the speeds and mix it up to keep them off balance."

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