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'Tude isn't rude, but Lions' key

May 22, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

SEVERN, Md. - If attitude means anything, then McDonough shouldn't even show up for today's Maryland Class 2A state softball final.

Walkersville plans on winning the state title. No question. Ask the Lions. They'll tell you as much.

"We go into games with an attitude," Walkersville coach Michelle Rasberry said Tuesday after the Lions pulled out a 2-1 victory over Parkside, of Salisbury, Md., in the semifinals at Randazzo Softball Park.

"We go into games saying that they have to beat us, we are not going to beat ourselves," Rasberry said. "We go in with the attitude that we are going to win the game no matter what."

So, today's 6 p.m. final will be only a formality. If Walkersville wins today, the Lions' seniors will end their careers just the way they started them ... as state champions. They were all members of Walkersville's 1995 state championship team.

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The invincible attitude has worked so far.

The Lions are 22-0 and have faced very few challenges en route to the Monocacy Valley Athletic League and Class 2A West titles.

Walkersville's defense is crisp and resilient.

It's offense is resourceful.

And the Lions' pitching, it's tough to match. Especially since Walkersville has allowed only six runs all season - only one of which have been earned. It's not hard to have a winning 'tude when your pitching staff has a combined earned run average of 0.05.

Amy Burdette showed the strength of Walkersville's pitching in the top of the eighth when two errors - one of which she committed - put Parkside runners on second and third with one out.

It became one of the tightest situations the Lions have found themselves in all season, forcing Rasberry to go out and talk to her team.

"I just wanted to come out and settle them down," the first-year coach said. "I told them to let the defense do the work and get out of it and that's what they did."

But Burdette made sure the defense could rest by striking out the next two hitters to end the threat. The main weapon was a change-up, a pitch she had seldom used.

"I don't think that was one of my better outings," said Burdette, who kept her ERA at 0.00 through 72 innings of pitching. "Maybe because there was more pressure but I've had better games. The change up was awesome. I worked on it and threw it 50 times on Sunday."

Offensively, it was a matter of patience for the Lions. Walkersville drove five long shots to the outfield in the first seven innings but came away with outs. The Lions didn't get the big hit until Burdette's game-winning two-out double in the eighth.

"We were hitting the ball, but we couldn't find a hole," Rasberry said. "I can't remember the last time that happened. We got a couple of breaks, but we had them coming. We knew that it couldn't last forever."

Unlike the feeling Walkersville has about winning.

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