An encore at Digital Harbor

Rams softball team wraps up a second straight city title, sharing it with Western and Poly

all three got boosts from young players



Digital Harbor's softball team won its second straight Baltimore City championship - but this time the Rams had to share it.

The regular season ended in a three-way tie with Poly and Western. All three finished 12-3 in the city league. The regional playoffs started too soon to play it off, so each team gets a share of the title.

"It's a mixed blessing," said Rams coach Lisa Martin, whose team won its first city title last season. "We would like to have it outright again, but at the same time, we could come in third if we played it off. I talked to some of my girls and they were, `We're OK with it.' "

Brandie Wright led the Rams with a .681 batting average, 17 home runs and 39 steals. Joy Ann Line (3.06 ERA, 23 RBIs, five home runs) and Tori Anderson (2.97 ERA, .647 batting average) have been strong on the mound.

Martin said one of the reasons the Rams (13-4 overall) have turned things around in the past two years is a group of sophomores who grew up playing ball together. Wright, Anderson, Megan Wich, Brittany Neal, Debra Buckner, Robin Agresott and Chelsea Chapman have played with South Baltimore Little League.

Western also has a young team, with only two seniors in the starting lineup.

Ariella Adelstein led the team with a .578 batting average and 32 RBIs, while freshman Akeema Richards hit .517 with 30 RBIs.

Junior Kari Edwards moved from shortstop to the mound and finished with 103 strikeouts as the Doves finished 14-4 overall.

Doves coach Sue Winemiller said the league has become more balanced thanks to an influx of better pitchers.

"There's so much parity in pitching now where Western used to dominate - except for the past few years when nobody had much," Winemiller said. "Now, Southwestern's got a good pitcher [Shannon Bonnett], Poly's got two, Digital Harbor's got two and we have one."

Poly freshmen Shanice Crowder and Shelby Nelson made all the difference for the Engineers (13-5 overall).

"We have a lot of girls where softball is not their primary sport," Poly coach Corey Johnson said. "We got off to a slow start on hitting and the freshmen came in and did a good job pitching."

Crowder finished 8-3 with a no-hitter and two one-hitters, while Nelson finished 5-2.

Catcher Katie Murphy hit over .400, while Mia Wilson had five home runs and Tierra Taylor was also a key offensive contributor to a team that had only three seniors.

Gilman stays hot

The fact that Gilman's baseball team won, 12-2, in Friday's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal against Archbishop Spalding is a testament to the Greyhounds' perseverance.

Gilman (14-9) had been blown out by a combined score of 23-4 in two regular-season losses to Spalding.

"We got off to a slow start for a variety of reasons. It seemed like we could never fire on all cylinders," said Gilman's 20th-year coach, Marty Meloy, whose Greyhounds won their season opener, but then lost six straight before starting their turnaround. "We have a senior-laden team with a lot of returning players, and we thought we could be competitive. But when our pitchers threw strikes, we would hit the ball but lose because we gave up too many runs. Things looked pretty bleak."

But the Greyhounds soon hit their stride, winning 11 of their next 14 outings - including a six-game winning streak and six of seven league contests - to qualify for the double-elimination playoffs.

A winner of an MIAA A Conference crown in 1996, Gilman benefited from having 11 seniors and the experience of Meloy, who takes a 261-189-1 record into today's championship game against Calvert Hall. The fifth-seeded Greyhounds knocked off fourth seed Loyola, 18-9, and No. 1 seed Mount St. Joseph, 6-5, to earn Friday's berth against Spalding.

"Somewhere in the middle, we started to put the facets of the game together," said Meloy, crediting the tinkering done by assistants Tim Holley, Keith Kormanik and John Xanders. "We're so pleased with the youngsters. This has been the biggest turnaround of my career."

Two of the Greyhounds' better players are left-handed pitcher Marco Simmons and first baseman Reggie Fugett. Fugett is batting .426 with 16 RBIs, three doubles, a triple, two home runs and 26 runs scored. Simmons is at .333 with 19 RBIs, a home run, two triples and 16 runs.

Catcher Grady Lincalis has the Greyhounds' top batting average at .433, with 19 RBIs, two doubles and three triples.

Finishing strong

Friends seniors Jackie Murk and Nicole Runde closed out stellar careers on the softball field by leading the young Quakers to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference semifinals.

Murk, a right-handed pitcher, struck out 126 batters in 75 innings and finished with a 1.87 ERA. Murk also hit .533 with 25 RBIs.

For her career, Murk was 45-4 with 429 strikeouts.

Runde, the Quakers shortstop, led the team in almost every offensive category. She hit .672 with 34 RBIs and 10 home runs. She has hit .530 or higher each of the past three years.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.