Top-ranked Glen Burnie turns back North County


Every team wants to get off to a fast start, but No. 1 Glen Burnie has done more than that.

Through their first three games, the Gophers have been a blur.

Yesterday, they used solid defense and timely hitting to remain undefeated and hand No. 12 North County its third straight loss, 5-1.

Senior Samantha Miller picked up her second win, allowing four hits and an unearned run. She pitched a three-hitter with 15 strikeouts in last week's 21-1 rout of Annapolis.

Also last week, senior Denise Warren struck out nine and gave up three hits in a 14-1 victory over Meade. She played shortstop yesterday and made a leaping catch to end the fifth inning.

Coach Bob Broccolino will continue to rotate them, with Warren starting tomorrow at No. 3 Chesapeake and Miller moving to shortstop. "It's worked for four years. Why change now?" he said.

The Gophers broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the fourth. Chris Napora (3-for-3) singled to center, went to second on a wild pitch and moved to third when Miller singled up the middle.

With Coral Brandenburg batting, Miller broke for second and drew a throw from North County catcher T. C. Horney. Napora waited to see if the ball would be cut off before breaking for home, and she scored easily for a 2-1 lead. Miller went to third when the ball skipped into shallow center field, and scored on a fly ball to right by Brandenburg.

The Knights, who had just one hit after the third inning, have lost to three ranked teams and face a fourth, No. 11 Old Mill, tomorrow.

"We opened against Severna Park and [pitcher] Christy Huber was overpowering," said first-year coach Brian Love. "Then we come up against Arundel and ran into a really good squad. And today, we made some errors and they capitalized on our mistakes. It's been frustrating, to say the least."

Once Glen Burnie went ahead, its defense made sure the vTC Knights stayed down. Napora made a nice grab at third on a hard bouncer by Michelle Clark in the fifth. Also that inning, Warren fielded a slow roller by Renee Rhinehart and threw strongly to first, then robbed Horney of a hit with a leaping grab.

Napora, who served as a designated hitter most of last year, made a diving stop of a grounder up the third-base line in the sixth and threw from her knees to retire Tracy Mrazeck. And in the seventh, Susan Kroedel ran down a line drive in center with one out and a runner on second.

The Gophers put the game away with a two-run sixth. Singles by Napora and Brandenburg made it 4-1, and a dropped fly ball in center let Brandenburg score.

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