Tough-luck Old Mill right-hander Jen Bernard finally discovered a way to win a big game against a top Anne Arundel County opponent.
She threw a shutout for 11 innings and hoped for one run of any kind.
That formula worked perfectly yesterday for the 1996 first-team All-Metro selection, as the sixth-ranked Patriots tripped No. 3 Glen Burnie, 1-0, at Old Mill.
Old Mill (3-2) won the game in the last of the 11th on Dawn Faulkner's bases-loaded, no-out hot smash off the glove of second baseman Amy Shacklock that went for a single and drove across Jessica Howell from third.
Faulkner hit a 3-2 pitch to end the game and back up her vow as she headed to the plate.
"I wasn't going home without hitting the ball and getting that run across," said Faulkner. "There was a lot of pressure on me, but I got a fastball and hit it. This win means a lot. It will give us some confidence and shows we can play together in big games."
The victory ended a long string of pitching misfortunes over the past two seasons for Bernard, including 2-1 and 1-0 losses to Glen Burnie last year. She had an 11-9 record last season even though she posted a 1.18 ERA for the light-hitting Patriots.
Bernard was brilliant against the Gophers yesterday, using a screwball to jam the hitters and a changeup to keep them off-balance on the way to a three-hit performance that included eight strikeouts and just one walk.
All three Glen Burnie (3-2) hits were short, opposite-field singles.
Bernard faced the minimum of 18 batters over the final six innings and retired the last 12 hitters.
Glen Burnie's Michelle Ogle began the seventh inning with a short single to right but was wiped out on a double play when her twin sister, Marianne, popped the ball up to Faulkner, who was charging in from third on the bunt attempt.
"That left side of the Old Mill infield [Faulkner and shortstop Howell] took a lot of hits away from us," said Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino. "Faulkner has been doing it for four years, and of course Bernard is a terrific pitcher. They were better than we were today. We made some mistakes we don't usually make."
Bernard said the warm weather yesterday played a major part in her super effort.
"I love pitching in warm weather," she said. "I was able to jam them a lot and never got tired. I could have kept on pitching all day. It's great to get a win like this when so many other similar games have gotten away from us."
Bernard collected one of the four straight Old Mill singles in the 11th inning when she drove a ball over center fielder Amy Hutson's head that Hutson got her glove on but couldn't hold on to, putting runners on first and second.
Jessica Dyer then set the stage for Faulkner with a bunt single that loaded the bases.
In all, Old Mill had eight singles off losing pitcher Jen Zabetakis, who certainly deserved a better fate yesterday.
Zabetakis struck out six, walked two and had a four-hitter through 10 innings.
Pub Date: 4/05/97