Mud, rocks, plain bad luck dog Cougars

Rough season for Fallston softball


May 20, 2007|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Reporter

Fallston softball coach Spike Updegrove has seen more than his share of bad luck during his team's 12-8 season.

"I've seen line drives in center field hit a rock and go over my center fielder's head," said Updegrove, who guided C. Milton Wright to four state titles in 10 years before taking over the Fallston program two years ago. "I'd say, `What in the world was that?' and we'd go out and there was a rock. We had a mud game which nobody would ever believe."

A mud game?

"We let Rising Sun get four runs in the mud, and then we didn't get up in the bottom of the second, so we couldn't use the mud as an offensive weapon," he said. "We had to continue it [another day]. Then we get the worst seed [No. 14 of 14 teams in the regionals] in the world, probably in the history of softball. We've just been very unlucky."

That 14th seed led to a first-round meeting with then-No. 12-ranked Severna Park on the road, and the Cougars lost, 2-0, on two unearned runs despite an outstanding effort on the mound by junior right-hander Magan Gravell.

Gravell had an 0.96 ERA this season in 73 innings, striking out 84 batters and walking 21 while recording a 7-4 record.

"I figured I'd keep her quiet up here and unleash her in the playoffs," Updegrove said. "And then she loses on two unearned runs. We had tremendous pitching this season. It was phenomenal. We only gave up 24 earned runs in 20 games. We lost two 1-0 games and three 2-0 games. We couldn't score. We just couldn't score."

The other outstanding pitcher for the Cougars was sophomore right-hander Val Strawbridge, who struck out 60 in 42 innings, had a 4-2 record, a 1.50 ERA and walked four.

Hawks on roll

With first-year coach Tara Buecker making a splendid debut, the North Harford girls lacrosse team went into the 3A-2A North regional finals with a 14-1 record.

The Hawks went racing past Eastern Tech, 20-3, in the opening round and then defeated Catonsville, 11-5, to reach the regional title game.

Senior attackman Corey Donohoe, who is headed to North Carolina on a lacrosse scholarship, raised her four-year career totals to 165 goals and 106 assists entering the regional final against Towson.

Donohoe's teammates "look to her in our offensive movements because she is a great threat to the goal," Buecker said.

Three other seniors, attackman Laura Lesnick, midfielder Megan Linkous and defenseman Johanna Gibson, are also completing strong careers. Lesnick is going to Penn State, Linkous is set for UMBC and Gibson will play at Loyola.

Other talented players for the No. 9 Hawks are Marleah Haley, Sam Stifler, Lauren Scott, Danielle Tomlinson, Shannon Bone, Chrissy Jones and Emily Gartrell.

Buecker said of her team, "These girls have a lot of potential and I have been blessed to have the opportunity to coach such talent."

Teams have to wait

The 1A North regional track meet that was scheduled for last Wednesday at Sparrows Point was rescheduled for yesterday at Pikesville because of high school assessment testing.

Harford Tech and Havre de Grace were among the schools who had to wait three days before competing.

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