Wolverines defuse late threat

Western Tech 2 Catonsville 0

High Schools

Softball

April 29, 2006|By GLENN GRAHAM | GLENN GRAHAM,SUN REPORTER

The difficult task was completed with a passing grade, but Western Tech junior pitcher Julianne Roper was still shaking a few minutes after the Wolverines came away with a 2-0 win at defending Baltimore County champion Catonsville yesterday.

It was understandable, considering the No. 14 Comets had loaded the bases with three straight singles in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Roper and the Wolverines' drawn-in infield got the job done.

First came a come-backer from Ashley Dupski, which Roper threw to catcher Katie Blackston to force the lead runner. Next came Abby Wilson's grounder to shortstop Katie Colvin, who went home for the second out. Amber Helvig's grounder to Colvin was fielded for the final out at first. Finally there was a joyous celebration by the visitors, who avenged a 2-1 loss in last year's county title game.

"It was nerve-racking, and I was so scared," Roper said. "I knew I had to throw strikes and try to keep the ball down to get some ground outs. This is great. They beat us the last two years, but it was our turn."

The Wolverines improve to 10-3 overall and 5-1 in Baltimore County play. Catonsville (11-4) falls to 5-1 in the league.

Western Tech, which has progressed over the past three seasons, won its first region title last year. Yesterday, the Wolverines took another big step.

"As a young team the past couple of years, we've been in similar situations a couple of times and let it slip away. It feels good to finally come through, and I think the big-game experiences we've had has paid off," said Western Tech coach Bryan Thanner.

The Wolverines had the bases loaded in the fourth, when All-Metro senior pitcher Amanda Fefel hit Jasmine Ables with a pitch to force in the game's first run.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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