Mullins makes most of big lead as N. County sinks Glen Burnie

She throws two-hitter, striking out 13 in 8-0 win

Softball

April 03, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

For North County pitcher Beth Mullins, it was a welcome sight, the four runs the No. 2 Knights put up in the first inning against No. 4 Glen Burnie yesterday in Ferndale.

Big early leads have not been the norm so far this season when the top teams get together in Anne Arundel County, where tight low-scoring games have long been a trademark.

So the sophomore had a comfortable cushion and had fun with it, striking out 13 Glen Burnie batters and taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning before settling on a two-hit 8-0 shutout.

The Knights have put together an impressive start to the week, beginning with a 2-1 win over No. 1 Chesapeake and a 10-4 win over Meade on Tuesday to go to 5-0 on the season.

"I knew I still had to go out and do my best because I always want to throw the best game I can every time I play, but it really took a lot of pressure off me and I could be more relaxed," Mullins said.

The Gophers (2-3) were coming off a difficult 1-0 loss to No. 11 Northeast on Tuesday and things uncharacteristically unraveled in the first inning. Three errors, two walks and a sharp two-run single up the middle by North County freshman Toni Evans (2-for-4, four RBIs) accounted for the four runs.

It was plenty for Mullins, who used a fastball, change and nasty breaking balls to keep the Gophers guessing all game. Junior Beth Slater finally broke up Mullins' no-hit bid with two outs in the sixth with a soft liner up the middle.

"She was awesome: 2-0 counts - changeup, 3-0 counts - changeup. They didn't know what to look for," North County coach Bobby Boyd said.

At the plate, Mullins walked twice, singled and scored three runs with catcher Danielle Martinez adding a double, single and two runs scored.

Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino still found positives. After the shaky first, the defense settled down and played strong the rest of the game.

"This kind of game after the tough loss [on Tuesday], it could have been real easy to put our heads down," he said. "We had a terrible first inning - our defense has been tremendous all year - and it just let us down, but I was real proud with just how they hung in there. You've got to take something positive out of this kind of game because you can find negatives all you want."

As for Mullins' stuff on the mound, particularly the changeup?

"I don't know what you do with that," said Broccolino, who shrugged when he added she was only a sophomore.

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