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Lions return to softball final

May 26, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

SEVERN, Md. - Two hits for North East, two errors for Walkersville. Those are normally numbers for a whole game against Walkersville pitcher Amy Burdette. It all happened in one inning on Tuesday in the Maryland Class 2A semifinals.

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"I didn't lose any confidence in them; they play extremely well every game behind me," Burdette said. "Even when we messed up, I still knew we could come right back."

She was exactly right. Lisa Abbamonte and Sarah Ramsburg made up for their errors at Randazzo Park by scoring the game-tying and game-winning runs, and Walkersville defeated the Indians, 2-1, for its second straight trip to the state final.

"We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game," Walkersville coach Dave Schrodel said. "(North East) has been here four years in a row now."

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But for the fourth straight year, they'll go home with no hardware, and for the second time in that streak, the Lions were the culprits. Walkersville downed North East in the semifinals on its way to the state title in 1996.

After North East got its run in the top of the third, Samatha Abrams struck out Melissa Kolb and Katie Williams in the bottom of the inning to bring up the top of the lineup.

Abbamonte crushed a double to left, and Ramsburg followed with a four-pitch walk to bring up Burdette. On the ninth pitch of her at-bat, the senior pounded a ball over second base to bring in Abbamonte and tie the game, 1-1.

"I knew Lisa was on second, and she's the fastest person I've ever met," Burdette said. "I just thought, 'If I can get one in, she's gonna score.'"

Janet Paterson followed with a line single to right-center that brought in Ramsburg for a 2-1 lead.

"It was a great time for a two-out rally," Schrodel said. "It was simply timely hitting by three of our best hitters."

At that point, Walkersville (24-1) could use its best pitcher to put the game away. Burdette faced just one over the minimum in the final four innings, and got solid defense from her teammates - including two great catches while looking into the sun from Ramsburg in right field - to make it to Friday's title game against North Caroline, which beat Harford 7-6 in 10 innings.

"We want a state title," Burdette said. "We want that sign in front of the school that says, 'State Champions.'"

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