IND delivers another happy ending

No. 4 Indians top Catholic with 7th-inning rally, 3-1

Softball

May 02, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

There's something about the Institute of Notre Dame softball team and seventh innings.

That combination proved successful once again as the fourth-ranked Indians scored two runs in the final inning to clip host and No. 12 Catholic, 3-1, at Herring Run Park yesterday.

The last-inning win was IND's fourth of the season and second in as many days. The Indians (17-5 overall and 10-3 in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference) upended IAAM leader Pallotti, 2-1, on Tuesday by scoring a run in the seventh.

"They're aging me," joked IND coach Greg Ehrman, whose squad tied the 1989 school record for most wins in a season. "It takes us awhile until the money is on the line. But it shows me that they're battling until the end."

And as has been the case for most of the season, junior Lauren Schmidt played a vital role in yesterday's victory.

For the third time, Schmidt registered the game-winning hit in the final inning, singling home senior pinch runner Sarah Grabenstein. Grabenstein was running for sophomore Kim Proctor, who had laced a one-out double down the left-field line.

The Indians padded their 2-1 lead when a fielding error on a grounder by freshman Ashley Dennis allowed Schmidt to cross the plate.

"We do [pretty well] under pressure," Schmidt said. "When it comes down to it, we think, `We have to get it done.' "

Sophomore Ashley Gray, who put IND on the scoreboard in the first inning with a two-out home run, said the team has usually found its groove in the seventh inning.

"By the end of the game, we're used to the pitching, and we start hitting [well]," Gray said.

Gray, who has pitched every game for the Indians, broke the school mark for most wins in a season by scattering six hits and striking out five Catholic batters.

She gave up just one run in the bottom of the third inning. After Cubs junior Jen Smith reached first base on a fielder's choice, senior Megan McAuliffe slapped a two-out double to right field to drive in Smith.

The loss marred another solid outing by Catholic senior pitcher Kelley Tiesi, who has pitched every game for the Cubs (6-8 overall, 6-4 IAAM). The Shippensburg-bound pitcher struck out 11 IND hitters, but was victimized by three errors.

It was also the second heart-breaking loss in as many days for the Cubs, who allowed No. 3 Archbishop Spalding to rally from a 1-0 deficit in the seventh inning to win, 2-1.

"We just gave it up," said Catholic coach Len Tiesi, Kelley's father. "You can't give extra outs in this league, and we gave them too many outs in that one inning."

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