Lansdowne deals Catonsville 1st loss

Happel's 3-hitter sparks 9-0 rout in Balto. Co. final


May 13, 2004|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Lansdowne came into the Baltimore County softball championship game looking to bolster its credibility. The Vikings accomplished that in a big way yesterday, routing previously unbeaten and No. 8 Catonsville, 9-0.

"This is a great way to end the regular season and begin regionals," said Lansdowne coach Jamie Izdebski. "We're ready to go now, and hopefully now people will give us the recognition we deserved."

Tabitha Hardesty had three hits and an RBI for Lansdowne (14-2), with Christina Rodriguez, Melinda Carruthers, Brittany Laporte, Karen Carr and Jamie Baker each contributing an RBI. Sophomore Amy Happel pitched a complete-game three-hitter with six strikeouts.

Despite bringing back eight starters from last season, Lansdowne was the underdog against defending champion Catonsville (15-1). The Vikings put the host Comets away with a five-run five inning, avenging a 5-3 setback during the regular season.

"We made some errors and didn't play up to par," said Happel of the first meeting. "I think we came out strong today and proved something."

Happel's matchup against sophomore sensation Amanda Fefel never materialized: Fefel didn't take the mound because of an arm injury. Catonsville coach Bill Nelson said Fefel, who played shortstop yesterday, has either a sore tendon or pulled muscle. She could be back pitching Monday in the Comets' Class 3A North regional opener against either Bel Air or Patapsco.

Catonsville collapsed defensively behind Mallorie Clary, who had only pitched in a couple of blowouts.

The Vikings broke through with two runs in the fourth on an RBI grounder by Carr and a wild pitch by Clary, allowing Samantha Schleupner to score.

Lansdowne sent 11 batters to the plate in the fifth inning. Laporte scored on a double by Rodriguez, who came around to score on a throwing error. Baker, Carruthers and Laporte drew bases-loaded walks, ending Clary's day on the mound. An error helped the Vikings score two more in the seventh.

"Our defense had to make at least eight errors. It was ugly," said Nelson, whose squad actually committed five errors. "They played a great game and earned the win because they played great defense."

The Comets attempted to mount a rally against Happel in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases, but Malia Deveney grounded out to second. Happel (one walk) allowed only one hit after the second inning and retired the final seven Catonsville batters.

The Vikings now turn their attention to the 2A North playoffs where they're the No. 1 seed.

"We wanted it, and that's what it comes down to in the end," Happel said. "We were kind of nervous playing a big team like Catonsville. We've got to make sure we don't lose any momentum."

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