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Dreams of Catoctin seniors go unrealized

May 28, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sam Weaver and Kelly Stiles so desperately wanted to bring home a state championship.

They were the only seniors on the Catoctin softball team, which they played for four seasons and made four trips to the Maryland Class 1A state semifinals.

When it was all over, the last trip was as fickle as the first. The Cougars came away short of the coveted state title on Thursday, this time thwarted by Beall 2-0 at The University of Maryland's Terrapin Softball Complex.

For the second time in the last four seasons the Cougars were left accepting the second-place trophy as Beall right-hander Kate Rephann made two first-inning runs stand up with a five-hitter.

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"I wanted this win ... We wanted this win so bad," Weaver said. "Things settled down after the first inning. Everything we hit went right at them and they caught it."

It was Catoctin's 15th appearance in the state tournament, including the eighth time in the title game. The Cougars only won the crown once, in 1986. Beall won while making its second consecutive and second-ever appearance in the state tournament.

"It's pretty tough to go out this way," said Stiles, who now heads to the University of Pittsburgh. "We knew, even when we got down, that we had plenty of time to come back, but ..."

Catoctin (20-3) wasted singles by Sara Wastler and Alecia Brandenburg with one out in the first inning and then fell behind.

Weaver walked leadoff batter Tasha Wilhelm before Whitney Wilson hit a run-scoring, two-out double to the warning track in left-center field. Emily Livingston followed with a single to center on a 3-2 pitch to score Wilson.

Catoctin, which pounded out 13 hits in Tuesday's 10-0 semifinal win over North Caroline, never got a baserunner as far as third until the fifth inning when Jess Krietz walked before advancing on a sacrifice and a wild pitch.

Weaver got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth with two nifty defensive plays and a strikeout and then avoided further trouble in the fifth despite two Beall doubles.

Catoctin made its bid to get back in the game in the sixth inning. Brandenburg led off with a walk, but was erased on a Weaver grounder. Jenn Kelly roped a single to left, setting the stage for Stiles.

Surprisingly, Stiles bunted successfully to move runners to second and third, but Mandi Lambert was retired on a fly ball to left.

"I just thought about getting the runners into scoring position," Stiles said. "I don't know why ... I hadn't ever bunted before."

Coach Amy Hunt was just as confused.

"There was no bunt sign on," Hunt said. "I knew we could steal on their pitcher so I was hoping to get the runners into scoring position and then maybe put on a suicide."

Weaver, who will attend Limestone College, struck out eight to end her high school career.

"We played a good game," Hunt said. "Everything we did hit was right at them. We didn't fold ... Beall was a better team today. It would be even more difficult of a loss to take if it wasn't to a good team."

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