Westminster dethrones N. Carroll with 3-2 win

Behind Davis' four-hitter, Owls claim tie for county

Softball

High Schools

May 05, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Westminster ended visiting North Carroll's run as Carroll County softball champion with solid pitching and defense - plus a little bit of creative base running.

Stacy Davis threw a four-hitter and struck out eight for No. 6 Westminster. She settled down after a shaky start, and the Owls created the runs necessary for a 3-2 victory over No. 8 North Carroll yesterday.

The win assured host Westminster (14-0, 7-0 league) of at least a share of the county title and eliminated North Carroll (11-5, 3-2) from the race. North Carroll had won the county championship for at least the past three years.

Davis struggled early, giving up two runs on three hits in the first three innings. But she settled down and gave up only one hit in the final four inning, allowing the Owls rally from a two-run deficit.

"I [had] a little bit of nerves," Davis said. "Once I settled in, I felt like I was home again."

Jessica Smith went the distance for North Carroll, allowing six hits and striking out four. But the Panthers hurt themselves by not being able to make plays that coach Lloyd Ford said they often do.

North Carroll made only one error, but that set up two runs, and the third Westminster run came on two infield singles that the Owls earned by hustling.

"We've got a lot of seniors, and they play smart," Westminster coach Byron Moore said. "We had a lot of smart plays today."

North Carroll had taken a 2-0 lead with some help from Nicole Agostine. She singled and scored on a wild pitch in the third and drove in courtesy runner Mandy Pickard with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly.

But that's when Westminster woke up. Davis walked to lead off the fourth, and Amanda LaPorta followed with a sacrifice bunt. A wild throw on the bunt let Davis score from first and put LaPorta on second with none out.

Two outs later, Nikki Wetzelberger reached on an infield single. But LaPorta slowed only briefly coming around third on the play. She just kept going and beat the throw home to tie the score.

Westminster had a similar fifth inning. Christine Simmers lined a two-out double down the right-field line. Davis was hit by a pitch before LaPorta hit a grounder to shortstop Allie Honkofsky.

Simmers was running past Honkofsky and came in front of the shortstop just as the ball reached her glove. That slowed Honkofsky for a moment, and her throw to first was late. Ford protested, claiming interference, but the umpires wouldn't allow it and the bases were loaded.

Stephanie Gerber then hit a low line drive that Honkofsky trapped. The shortstop's throw to first was late as Gerber hustled down the line, allowing Simmers to score the go-ahead run.

"I was trying to hit it and put it in play," Gerber said. "I knew the pressure was on."

Ford was disappointed because he felt North Carroll simply didn't make plays it could have and gave the Owls too many chances.

"We didn't execute the plays we are capable of making," Ford said. "It can cost you, and it did."

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