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Campers chase off Cougars

May 28, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

SEVERN, Md. - Allegany broke one of the cardinal rules of hitting Thursday afternoon in the Maryland Class 1A softball final against Catoctin.

The Campers then went and broke the Cougars' backs.

[cont. from sports page]

Allegany, in its first trip to the state final, swung at every high pitch Jamie Hertel offered, and pounded out 11 base hits in a 9-1 victory for the state title at Randazzo Park.

"They just like those," Allegany coach Barb Lennox said. "We tell them to let them go, but they just keep hitting them."

The Campers (17-3) made every one of them count. They strung together five hits in six batters for a five-run third and continued the trend the rest of the way.

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Throw in a big error with two outs in the fourth by the Catoctin infield, and the Cougars (19-7) watched their shot for a second state title slip away.

"We had a couple of mental errors and we just couldn't shake them," Catoctin coach Sue Weaver said. "They started base hitting, and we can normally keep up. But you add in the hits and the errors, and we just couldn't."

Through two innings, it seemed the Cougars' nerves from their semifinal victory had gone away. But as soon as Allegany put runners on the basepaths, the Campers pressed the issue at every turn, forcing wild throws and indecision from the Cougars.

"I don't think it was (nerves)," Weaver said. "Once the game starts, it's just another game. That's the worst part about this."

Even a team conference - without the coaches - wasn't enough.

"We thought we could get things together and come back," said Jen Weaver, one of Catoctin's two seniors. "No one thought they'd have to go up there and hit a home run or anything.

"But we're a good inside hitting team, and (Staci Walton) just kept throwing those outside pitches."

It left Weaver on the outside looking in for the third time in four years at the state tournament. On the flip side, it was the first win in three tries for the Campers in a state final this year. They had earlier come up short in the volleyball and basketball championships.

"We just had a lot more fun down the stretch," said Allegany's Cassie Murray, who was a part of those losing finalists. "We started winning and it just kept going. It's about time. I guess the third time's a charm."

But after Thursday, the Cougars thought they were anything but charmed - state finals appearance or not.

"We knew we were coming down here from the first day of practice," Jen Weaver said. "We really thought we were gonna win it all.

"We're still happy to be here, but we came up just a little bit short."

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