As Catholic's Benedetti relaxes, he finds success



April 28, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Joe Benedetti couldn't be happier at the plate these days for the Catholic University baseball team as the former Hammond High standout has watched his batting average climb to .368.

Teammate Jason Funk from Archbishop Spalding is clearly disappointed as he explains why his average has dipped more than 40 points to .330.

Benedetti, a sophomore right fielder, said the secret to his recent surge has been "relaxing at the plate" and "enjoying the closeness" of the Division III Cardinals, who are about to close a slightly disappointing season in the Capital Athletic Conference (5-5 in league, 25-14-1 overall).

"I just love to play and the atmosphere is great here," said Benedetti, who has three home runs, nine doubles, 26 RBIs and a .558 slugging percentage. "Next year should be our year with a lot of key players back and a good freshman class coming in."

While Benedetti can look with optimism to next season, the versatile Funk can't help but look back on the many missed opportunities this season.

"We can't close out teams," said Funk, a junior who has 10 doubles, two home runs and 30 RBIs, which ties him for the team lead. "We had some pitching problems and injuries."

The reason for Funk's late-season fade?

"It's a long season and I guess I wore down a little," said Funk, who primarily is a designated hitter and second baseman but also had some starts at first base and third base.

Zappacosta makes it big

Freshman Mia Zappacosta (McDonogh) has established the Shepherd College single-season softball record for hits by collecting three in a doubleheader sweep of West Virginia Tech, 12-3 and 22-0, on Thursday.

The 5-foot-3 third baseman/pitcher has 54 hits for the Division II Rams (23-20, 16-7 West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) and she leads the team in virtually every pitching and hitting category.

Zappacosta leads in average (.440), RBIs (32), slugging (.617), doubles (17) and triples (four). She is the team's pitching ace, with a 9-5 record and 2.29 ERA.

Selmer heads for regionals

Sophomore Carrie Selmer (Glenelg) wiped out the Winthrop school steeplechase record by eight seconds and qualified for the NCAA East Regional by four seconds with a 10:35.52 time Friday in the Big South Conference track and field championships in Charleston, S.C.

Selmer finished second in the 3,000-meter event, finishing less than five seconds behind Daneja Grandovec of Coastal Carolina. Both women broke the Big South steeplechase record.

Another Sitton shutout

Freshman Allie Sitton (Park) enhanced her standing as the ace of the Rochester Institute of Technology softball pitching staff with a six-hit 2-0 shutout victory over St. John Fisher in a key Empire 8 game Saturday.

It was Sitton's third shutout and fifth complete game. She is 7-2 with a team-leading ERA of 0.56 along with 77 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.

RIT is 8-3 in the Empire 8 and 19-14 overall.

Et cetera

Kerry O'Connell is sporting her first St. Joseph's University Hawk of the Week award, after the sophomore attack from Seton Keough scored seven goals and handed out two assists last week in lacrosse victories over Lafayette and La Salle. O'Connell is the second-leading scorer on the Hawks (6-5, 1-3 Atlantic 10) with 27 goals and six assists.

Four Baltimore area softball players have played significant roles in York College's 6-2 record in the Capital Athletic Conference (19-20 overall). Sophomore second baseman Laura Hauck (Institute of Notre Dame) is hitting .338 with one home run and six RBIs; junior shortstop Brittany Malarkey (Mount de Sales) carries a .313 average, has scored 28 runs and driven in 23; sophomore pitcher/outfielder Colleen Dugan (Mercy) has a 2-2 record, a 2.01 ERA and three complete games; and freshman pitcher Danielle Ditzel (Mount de Sales) has a 3-3 record, a 2.97 ERA and four complete games.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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