Centennial victories truly a team effort

May 07, 2008|By Glenn Graham

While Centennial's All-Metro senior pitcher Ben Winter is enjoying another fine season, one other key to the Eagles' success on the baseball diamond has been the team's depth, with players taking turns stepping up.

Coach Denis Ahearn will look for more of the same as the Eagles (16-3) seek their fifth county championship in six years when they host Marriots Ridgeat 4:30 p.m. today.

"In years past, it's often been our starting nine, and that was about it. But this year, guys are coming off the bench and making great contributions. We're winning the close games because guys are stepping up and playing hard -- doing all the little stuff to win games."

In Thursday's 4-3 win over Long Reach in 11 innings, sophomore outfielder Alec Baum came in to pitch the four scoreless innings to get the win in relief. Ahearn also praised sophomore catcher Russ Patti for the fine season he has had defensively, senior shortstop James Cowan's smooth adjustment from second base and strong outfield play from junior Jake Beck.

Hammond softball -- The defending Class 2A state champion Golden Bears are primed to capture a second straight Howard County championship when they host Glenelg at 4 p.m. today. But coach Richard Pond wants to see more focus from start to finish from his team as it approaches crunch time. The Bears will take a 16-2 record into the title game -- including a 9-0 win over Glenelg midway through the regular season. It's the two setbacks -- particularly a 1-0 loss to Atholton on April 18 -- that has Pond concerned. "It's been a battle for us all year long -- getting them mentally prepared to play softball at 100 percent as soon as they step onto the field. It's been better since the loss to Atholton -- that really woke them up," said Pond, whose Bears closed out the season with six straight wins. In the regular-season win against Glenelg, everything went right for the Bears, with little going right for the Gladiators. Sophomore shortstop Morgan Mesol went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs to lead the offense, while junior All-Metro pitcher Stephanie Speierman tossed the shutout. Pond also said sophomore catcher Katie McCarthy has played a big role with the her work offensively and defensively.

Centennial girls lacrosse -- In recent years, Eagles' seasons have taken a similar path: Enjoy a solid regular season, find some early success in the regional playoffs and then meet up with county rival and 11-time defending state champ Mount Hebron. "For so long, we would go to regionals doing well and then hit a brick wall when we see Mount Hebron," Centennial coach Katie Clark said. Clark and the senior-laden Eagles (10-2 going into Monday's game against Reservoir) are hoping to change all that this postseason with the help of a historic win over the Vikings during the regular season, which ended their rivals' 18-year run of wins against county competition. The teams will likely meet at some point in the Class 3A-2A South region. With a balanced attack led by Sarah Parks (28 goals, 15 assists) and Jenny Michael (29, 12), strong play from goalie Mary Teeters and fine all-around play from Leanne Catalano and Amanda Matthews, the Eagles are hoping this can be the year they crash through the wall. In the Eagles' 7-5 win over the Vikings on April 15, Teeters finished with 19 saves to lead the way in a tightly marked, physical game. "I think a lot of it is mental. Our biggest challenge is believing, and I know they can do it. They look a lot more confident this this year," Clark said.

Chapelgate Christian softball -- The Yellowjackets are enjoying a fine season, capturing first place in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference with a 12-2 league mark. They also are finding plenty of success in the classroom as well. The team has seven players -- seniors Emily Casey, Cori Bohn, Amanda Webster, Meghan Black, Jacki Harbison, Emily Webster and Christina Hahn -- on the distinguished headmasters' list with a 3.9 grade-point average or better.

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