North County slips past Northeast, 3-1

Conwell's two-run homer spoils Eagles' upset bid

Softball

April 05, 2003|By Matt Papuchis | Matt Papuchis,SUN STAFF

Northeast's Ashley Gray pitched 6 2/3 innings of five-hit, shutout softball yesterday afternoon, but it wasn't enough.

A two-out rally in the top of the seventh inning - capped by Shannon Conwell's two-run homer - led to three runs, as visiting No. 2 North County dashed the 11th-ranked Eagles' hopes of pulling off their second upset of the week, 3-1

Knights pitcher Beth Mullins fought through first-inning trouble and threw a three-hitter as her team overcame an early one-run deficit.

"The kids just have a lot of heart and a lot of desire," Knights coach Bobby Boyd said. "As long as we got one out left, we got a shot. There's no quit in them and as long as we have one out left, I'll take these kids anywhere."

After Gray retired the first batter in the seventh, she hit Toni Evans with a pitch that put the tying run on base. She then struck out Angela Olecski, putting the Eagles one out away from the upset.

No. 9 hitter Hannah Karaszkiewicz followed with a triple into right-center field that scored Olecski to tie it at 1.

"All I could think about when I got up there was: hit the ball," Karaszkiewicz said.

The next batter, second baseman Conwell, crushed the first strike for the game-winning, two-run home run.

In the bottom of the inning, Mullins struck out the final two batters to ensure the win.

Mullins, who had nine strikeouts, kept the Eagles off balance with an assortment of fastballs and changeups.

"I wasn't throwing too good at the beginning," said Mullins, who also pitched in the Knights' upset of No. 1 Chesapeake earlier in the week. "I was really pumped up as the game went on and our team really hung right in there, especially in the end when we really needed to."

After surrendering two hits and one run in the bottom of the first, Mullins was almost untouchable the rest of the game, giving up just one hit in the last six innings, a Carolyn Jenkins third-inning single.

Northeast coach Marianne Shultz was pleased with her team's overall performance, but said that it needed to improve on putting together a complete game.

"They were the most enthusiastic they've been all year and I thought they played well," she said. "But we didn't play 21 outs. And that's the bottom line. You got to play until the end. We let that one slip away a little bit."

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