County title completes Glen Burnie's reversal

Topping No. 1 Chesapeake 5-4, ices Gophers' cake


High Schools

May 09, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Nearly four weeks ago, Glen Burnie softball coach Bob Broccolino wasn't worried about the Anne Arundel County championship. He was thinking how he could right a ship that was veering dangerously off course.

Last night, the No. 6 Gophers proved just how far they've come by stunning top-ranked Chesapeake, 5-4, in 11 innings for the county title at Randazzo Park in Severn.

After almost 2 1/2 hours of back-and-forth softball, Glen Burnie grabbed the program's seventh crown since 1986 and its third in five seasons.

The improbable ending capped a stretch run during which the Gophers rebounded from an 8-0 loss to the Cougars on April 12 and a 5-4 overall and 3-3 county record to win 10 of their next 11 and emerge with a 15-5 mark and the title.

"At one time, I never thought we'd make it to the county championship," said senior catcher Jessica Griffith. "But we knew that anything was possible and that we had to work hard to get here."

It was after the loss to Chesapeake that Broccolino mentioned that competing for the county crown was far from his mind.

"I didn't think I cared about [a county championship] until we beat North County [Monday], but this is tremendous," Broccolino said. "There were no losers out here today. Both teams were warriors."

Both pitchers - Glen Burnie senior Tina Willis (8-3) and Cougars junior Lindsay Ettinger (16-1) - carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

With the international rule allowing teams to place a runner at second base at the start of each extra inning, Chesapeake matched the Gophers run for run through the one-run eighth and three-run ninth innings.

But in the top of the 11th, senior Stephanie Stoll, who opened the inning at second base, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a fielder's choice to give Glen Burnie a 5-4 lead.

The Cougars (19-2) had senior Sara Vogt at second in the bottom half of the inning, but Willis retired the side to seal the victory.

"I can't feel [my right arm] right now," joked Willis, who struck out 11 batters. "I can't believe that I was still throwing heat in the 11th inning, but I wanted it real bad."

Coach Don Ellenberger said the Cougars - who suffered their first loss since March 30 - would now focus on the Class 4A East Region, in which they are the top seed.

"This team has been immune to everything," he said. "It deals with it and moves on. I know that this team hates to lose. ... I believe they will bounce back."

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