Baseball-Softball Notebook - Wilkes leading the charge

April 25, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

At some point after Catoctin softball pitcher Shawna Wilkes' junior season came to a close with a loss to Southern Garrett in the state Class 1A championship game, she realized she only had one season left to make her mark.

This past week, Wilkes has been nearly unhittable, and behind her fastballs, the No. 2 Cougars are undefeated.

"Shawna's at her peak, and there's a seriousness to her, this being her senior year, that this is the time to do it," Catoctin coach Amy Hunt said.

Wilkes is 9-0 with 97 strikeouts in 57 innings and has yet to allow an earned run this season. She threw a no-hitter against Smithsburg on Monday and followed it up Thursday with an eight-inning, one-hit shutout in a battle with Francis Scott Key, which was the league's other undefeated team at 8-0 in conference play before losing.


"Her best attributes are her speed and control," Hunt said. "If you have those two, what else do you need? She has a few other pitches she uses, and it's (a matter of) placement and knowing when to pitch other pitches."

Aside from Wilkes' personal accomplishments, the Cougars hade it a goal of theirs to go undefeated this season after a 20-5 campaign in 2002.

"Last year they made room for error, and their argument (this year) was, if we want to be the best, let's go undefeated."

Railroaders break through

Brunswick's softball team has been in every game it's played this season, but until Monday its only wins to show for it had come against Williamsport and South Hagerstown, both in the bottom half of the MVAL standings.

Then the Railroaders got a trophy they could be proud of, beating No. 3 Middletown, 2-1.

Brunswick (6-5) made only one error in the game and won it on LeEllen Lewis' seventh-inning home run.

"That's what happens when we pull the defense together," Railroaders coach Chris Schullenbarger said. "Even the first game against Middletown, you look at the errors, and they beat themselves (in a 10-6 loss)."

Errors hurt Brunswick in an 8-3 loss at Catoctin - a loss in which the Railroaders scored one-third of all the runs the Cougars have given up this season - and Brunswick also fell in a 4-3 nailbiter against Walkersville earlier this season.

"We've been getting the hits we need," Schullenbarger said. "Conceivably, our record could only have two losses. They see they have the talent, and they have to pull it together as a team. We still have to build up consistency, but a win over Middletown like that is a great start."

Hooked by accident

Jim Hutson didn't know what he had done until much later. By then, it was too late to do anything about it.

When the Clear Spring baseball coach sent Cody Beard to the mound in relief of Mike Hamby in the fifth inning of the Blazers' 19-0 win Thursday over Hancock, he had no idea that Hamby was working on a no-hitter.

"I sent Beard out there just to get some work, not knowing (Hamby) had a no-hitter," Hutson said. "Nobody said anything when I took him out, so I guess they didn't realize either. Some of those innings were really long."

The Blazers scored 14 runs in the second inning and five more in the third.

Beard surrendered one hit in the top of the fifth - the only hit the Panthers managed in the game.

"I felt bad about it afterwards, but they took it OK," Hutson said.

- Sports editor Mark Keller contributed to this notebook

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