South advances to final

May 20, 1998|By MARK KELLER

by Joe Crocetta / staff photographer

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South wins

SEVERN, Md. - Since the Maryland softball playoffs were scheduled to begin nearly two weeks ago, South Hagerstown coach Sabrina McCoy hasn't slept well at all. It seems thoughts of the next playoff game get her adrenalin flowing and keep her awake most of the night.

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Now, there's only one playoff game left for the Rebels, win or lose. So McCoy certainly doesn't expect to sleep much before Friday.

"I've got a couple of days to think about this one, not just one night like the other games," McCoy said Tuesday after the Rebels defeated St. Michaels 4-3 in the Class 1A State Semifinals at Randazzo Softball Park. "But I am looking forward to it."


The Rebels (16-9) will face Rising Sun for the Class 1A championship Friday at 6 p.m. Rising Sun (12-9) defeated Glenelg 4-3 in the other semifinal game Tuesday.

Pitchers Tia Waltemire and Stacey Zeger led the way for South, which advanced to the final game for the first time in school history.

Waltemire (8-5) went five innings, allowing three runs and four hits to earn the win. Zeger followed with two perfect innings of relief for the save.

"It feels great. I'm very pleased, and I'm glad Stacey came in to relieve us," Waltemire said. "She did a great job of slamming the door."

St. Michaels (13-7) got all three of its runs in the top of the fifth, assisted by two South errors. With one out and runners on second and third, Hannah Richardson hit a grounder to third. Kristin Harne fielded the ball and threw home to cut off the run. But South catcher Dee Ecton couldn't handle the throw, allowing Cheryl Mullikin to score and cut South's lead to 2-1.

As Ecton retrieved the ball, Gretta Campbell rounded third and headed home. Waltemire covered the plate, but dropped the ball when she tried to apply the tag. Richardson later scored on a groundout to give the Saints a 3-2 lead.

"I was just a little frustrated. I get frustrated pretty easily," Waltemire said. "But I knew our team would pull it out in the end."

The Rebels didn't waste any time. In the bottom of the inning, Harne reached on a throwing error by shortstop Stephanie Sundt and went to second on a passed ball. With two out, Ecton grounded to Sundt, who again overthrew the first baseman. Harne scored on the overthrow and Ecton ended up at third after yet another throwing error.

Carrie Keller walked and rounded first, forcing a rundown. Tiffany Burns, who entered as a courtesy runner for Ecton, broke for the plate and beat the throw home as South regained the lead.

"We still didn't have all the jitters out at that point," McCoy said. "I just told them to go out and play ball and relax, and it worked."

Zeger took over from there, making quick work of the Saints. She had a hand in five of the six outs while on the mound, striking out three and throwing out the last two batters on comebackers.

"I was kind of nervous when I first got out there. I didn't know what was going to happen," Zeger said. "Tia and I make a good combination."

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