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Baseball/Softball Notebook

April 14, 2000|By DAN SPEARS

MVAL softball race not a one-team show



In the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's softball race, it's usually Walkersville, and then everybody else. This time around, it's Walkersville AND everybody else vying for the title.

Barely a month into the season, everyone has at least one loss - including the Lions.

"We knew coming in that there were some real good teams," Walkersville coach Brian Campbell said. "Catoctin and Middletown we knew for sure. FSK showed us a lot. And now Smithsburg seems to be coming on and playing some ball."

Last Thursday, three teams in the MVAL were perfect. By Tuesday, none of them were. Catoctin beat Walkersville, 3-1. The very next day, Smithsburg stomped the Cougars, 11-0.

"Emotionally, we were just drained," Catoctin coach Sue Weaver said. "But Smithsburg's beat Key and others, so they're up and coming. Even today (Thursday's 4-0 win vs. Brunswick), we were really flat and pulled one out. The whole season will be this way. If you've got three or less losses, you'll win."

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That left Middletown all by itself in first place - until Walkersville handed the Knights a 1-0 loss.

"(Megan Pilarcik) strikes out eight, she settled in and found her groove, and we lose," Middletown coach Charlie Toms said. "You can't explain it, it's just Walkersville."

And while people may start getting to the Lions, it comes at a heavy price.

"Everybody is really out to get us," Walkersville pitcher Lindsay White said. "I mean, look at Catoctin. They beat us one day, and then look what happened.

"We have to play harder, just keep hanging around and keep pitching well."

So even though everything's changed, nothing really has. Walkersville is still at the top of the heap, but it's the attitude of their chasers that could make the difference.

"Last year, we came out of this game embarrassed," Toms said of an 11-0 loss. "This time, it's just 1-0. We'll get them the next time, I'm confident of that."

"We're spread out. We've got 2-3 seniors, 2-3 juniors, 2-3 sophomores, 2-3 freshmen playing every game," Weaver said. "We've got a lot of leadership, but there's also a few girls that are just out there because they love playing softball and don't know that reputation yet."

Perfect attitude

Non-conference games in Pennsylvania are a tricky little affair. The extra bit of intensity that comes with conference games usually isn't there, yet the precious power points that come with a win force you to be up for every game.

So Greencastle's 7-4 softball victory over Southern Fulton last Friday meant a whole lot more to the Blue Devils - who picked up extra points for beating last year's Class A quarterfinalist and kept their perfect record intact.

"Southern Fulton's got a good team ... I think we did this to them last year, too," Greencastle coach Kirk Rowe said. "You still want to win every game, because anybody can come and knock you off. But you always want to take it as far as you can go."

The Blue Devils are hitting the cover off the ball (they average 9.2 runs per game), but it's their pitching that has come up big lately. Jen Gentile and Megan Williams have allowed just two runs combined in their last three Mid Penn Colonial games, and Gentile shut out the Indians for 5 1/3 innings while not at 100 percent.

"Megan was especially happy," Rowe said. "First thing she asked when we got on the bus ... 'Is Jen pitching today?' I told her, and she said, 'All right.'"

One and done?

The Berkeley Springs softball team has played one-run affairs in six of its last eight games - and the Indians have won the last four, including back-to-back 5-4 wins against Clear Spring.

On the flip side is the Walkersville baseball team, which seems to be playing to its competition all season. Outside of a 19-4 win over Catoctin, the Lions have three two-run games and two one-run games in their seven other contests.

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