Baseball/softball notes - 'Dogs teach their coach

April 06, 2001

Baseball/softball notes - 'Dogs teach their coach

Normally, a win over Jefferson on the baseball diamond is cause for big-time celebration. Winning a pitcher's duel, that's even more impressive.

Yet color Martinsburg unimpressed with themselves after Josh Brown threw a one-hitter for Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Cougars at P.O. Faulkner Park.

"We had confidence all day, even at the beginning of school," Brown said. "I told them two runs would be enough for us today."

It's a level of confidence that hasn't been in the heart of Berkeley County in a little while, despite the Bulldogs' win over Jefferson in last year's sectional tournament.


Martinsburg coach Dennis Etherington has seen his teams beat Jefferson before. Just not quite like this.

"These kids are confident already," said Etherington, who's in his sixth season as head coach. "They've had success over the years, but they're really confident now. They're making me confident in them, too."

OK, fine ...

The smile on Megan Simmons face Tuesday afternoon didn't tell the story. Not even the half of it.

The Clear Spring junior missed all of last year after a knee injury in the preseason, and was only cleared for 2001 just before the season began. Most are champing at the bit to return. Simmons was an exception, according to coach Drew Michael.

"She wasn't too excited about it at first, but she's really picked up the intensity," Michael said. "I think she's glad to be here now."

Simmons vanished after her injury last season, deciding to not come to the team's games while trying to rehab her injury - a pretty common occurrence among athletes, according to Michael. Now she's playing shortstop or anywhere else the team needs her, and maybe getting back to pitching soon.

"Any time you get a player like that ... she's got a strong glove defensively," Michael said. "And at a school our size, not having her was a huge loss for us."

Now the loss may be a gain for everybody in a Blazers uniform.

"We're still young at some key positions," Michael said. "Now, we've got a solid field when Stacey (Yeakle) pitches."

On the rebound

Sometimes a stunning loss can send a team into a tailspin, a la the Maryland men's basketball team.

The Catoctin softball team took it in the other direction.

After a stunning 18-10 loss to Francis Scott Key where the normally solid Cougars pitchers gave up 14 runs in the last three innings, Catoctin has taken it out on the competition, sandwiching big wins over North Hagerstown and Smithsburg around a much-needed 2-1 win over league champ Walkersville on Tuesday.

"No, actually it wasn't (hard to motivate them)," Catoctin coach Sue Weaver said. "They were so disappointed in themselves that, for them, there was no other choice.

"There was a lot of self-motivating."

The win over the Lions was especially sweet for Shawna Wilkes, the sophomore pitcher who admitted to Weaver that the FSK game was "the worst game of her life."

"And (Walkersville, 6 strikeouts) was her first showing after that. And she was on," Weaver said. "She didn't want that to be what you remembered about us this year."

So instead of being in a big hole early in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League season, the Cougars are - again - right in the thick of things.

"It was real important, especially so early in the season," Weaver said. "It was huge. We split with them last year and there had been several years that we hadn't won a game. Everybody knew it going in."

Strike back, not strike out

They say half the battle is to simply put the bat on the ball.

For the Boonsboro baseball team, it's been more than half the battle - actually 60 percent of it so far.

The Warriors stand at 3-1 after Thursday's win, nearly matching their five-win total of a year ago. Not because of a large number of returning starters or lots of experience, but because the team simply refuses to strike out much anymore.

"We're swinging the bat well," Boonsboro coach Fred Krieger said. "We don't strike out ... We've got nine guys that put the ball in play."

This year's 12-0 opening loss to Middletown brought back bad memories of 2000, but it didn't stick around very long.

"They really have (rebounded)," Krieger said. "They've bounced back and played some good ball."

Tournament time

With last weekend's Gene Baker softball tournament washed out, the first big weekend in tournament action comes today.

The inaugural Border War tournament begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at James Wood High School in Winchester, Va., where Jefferson takes on Randolph-Macon Academy.

Hedgesville plays Handley at 2, Musselman takes on Sherando at 5 and Martinsburg caps the day against home-standing James Wood at 8.

The tournament continues next Monday, with the championship game to be held Wednesday night.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A little closer to home, the Martinsburg softball team hosts its Rotary Mixer Saturday at Charlotte Prather Park, and the Bulldogs will get a shot at several powerhouses from the four-state region.

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