Janet Gonzalez -- a shy, inexperienced sophomore used to playing for fun -- would never be expected to beat the second-ranked softball team in the Baltimore metro area with her bat.
But Gonzalez, who bats eighth for a light-hitting Old Mill team, laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt with a runner on third and one out in the last of the seventh inning to give the sixth-ranked Patriots a 1-0 victory over second-ranked Arundel at Old Mill.
The win halted an eight-game Arundel (8-2) winning streak and atoned for an earlier 4-3 setback by Old Mill (6-4) to Arundel.
Jen Bernard spun a two-hit shutout for Old Mill, striking out four and walking two.
Moments before the bunt, Gonzalez expressed serious doubts to her coach Lori Darnall about her ability to execute under such pressure.
"I'd never been at bat with the outcome on the line," said Gonzalez, the left fielder. "I've never played softball at this serious a level before. This is the biggest thing I've ever done. When the coach told me I could win the game, I was thinking 'What about if I lost it by not bunting right?' Maybe this will give me more confidence now."
Said Darnall: "I had to talk her through today's bunt."
The Gonzalez bunt on a 1-1 pitch scored a speedy Heidi Verostic from third and overcame a superb pitching performance by sophomore Soraya Grace.
Grace no-hit Old Mill for 5 2/3 innings and wound up with a three-hitter (eight strikeouts and three walks).
Verostic set the stage for Gonzalez in the seventh by hitting a one-out single to right-center and taking advantage of two passed balls by backup catcher Maria Drury to move to third.
Drury was catching in place of sophomore Breanna Kitchen, who sat out yesterday's game because she missed last Friday's Meade game to travel to South Carolina to watch her sister, Kara, play for Charleston Southern.
"Breanna chose not to play today," said Yannuzzi of his team rule against missing games. "It was her choice and I support her choice. We lost this game because we didn't capitalize on three chances to get runners home in the third, fourth and sixth innings."
Pub Date: 4/15/97