Melissa Rode helped Northeast remove most of the suspense early in yesterday's game with visiting North County. Deana Benner and Lisa Gordon took care of the rest.
Rode keyed a four-run first inning with a three-run double, and Benner combined with Gordon to throw a one-hitter as No. 2 Northeast defeated No. 9 North County, 6-0, in an Anne Arundel County North Division game.
Northeast (3-1, 2-1) rebounded from a shaky performance in a 6-2 loss to No. 3 Glen Burnie earlier in the week with a strong effort against North County (3-3, 1-2).
The Eagles made seven errors against Glen Burnie, but only three in this game -- none of which proved costly.
"The concentration level stayed for the full seven innings," said Northeast coach Lynn Pitonzo. "They gave me a full game today."
Northeast took charge with the four-run first. With Shelly Guy on first and two outs, the Eagles rallied. Renee Mrowczynski and Stacy Smith hit back-to-back singles to load the bases.
Rode then lined a 3-2 pitch from North County starter Kendra Heiser to deep left for a double that cleared the bases.
"All I know is that I was trying to get on base," said Rode. "I think it got our team up. It got us excited."
Rode went to third on the throw home and scored on Lesa Verrette's infield single to make it 4-0.
The Eagles added two more runs in the third with the help of two North County miscues, two infield singles and a double steal.
Northeast finished with just six hits, all in the first three innings. Four of the hits were infield singles, but it was enough to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead after three.
The six-run advantage proved more than enough for Northeast. Benner, making her first start of the season, was in command throughout her four-inning stint.
Thirty-five of her 45 pitches were strikes, and Benner retired the first 11 batters she faced before Angie Walsh reached on an error. North County's Kellie Evans then grounded a single to left for her team's only hit.
"She kept the ball down and she moved it around," said Pitonzo. "She threw well."
Gordon took over in the fifth and, although shaky at times, kept North County hitless in the final three innings.
The Knights did have a few chances to score. After putting the two runners on in the fourth, North County did the same thing in the fifth and seventh innings, but stranded everyone and left six on base overall.
"We didn't find any holes today," said North County coach Brian Love. "Northeast just played tougher than we did."
Pub Date: 4/05/97