The first pitch Franklin senior Kara Wingate threw yesterday was driven to deep left field for a towering home run by Eastern Tech pitcher Sandy Birchfield.
It was an inauspicious start for Wingate, but it proved to be the wake-up call she needed.
"That pitch slipped a little inside," Wingate said. "After she hit it, I realized I had to concentrate. I know our team can hit, but I have to do my part, too."
The rest of the way, Wingate did her part by shutting down the visiting Mavericks on just three singles, and the seventh-ranked Indians scratched out a 2-1 victory in a matchup of the top two teams in Baltimore County's Division I.
Franklin (8-0, 7-0) is now the lone team in the division with fewer than two losses. Eastern Tech (7-2, 4-2) will have an opportunity to gain some ground when they play host to the Indians on Friday.
Wingate, The Sun's 1996 Baltimore City/County Co-Player of the Year, finished with 11 strikeouts to out-duel Birchfield, who was victimized by three errors.
Birchfield pitched a four-hitter (all singles), walked one and did not allow an earned run. She also went 3-for-3.
Franklin broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning when Corinne Whitehead scored from second base after a wild pitch that was followed by catcher Jessi Maffei's errant throw over third baseman Tina Collier's head into left field.
Whitehead had led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on Sara Harman's bloop single to right.
Harman ended up on third with none out after the wild pitch and error, but Birchfield retired the next three batters on a shallow fly and two strikeouts to keep the Mavericks within one run.
Unfortunately for Eastern Tech, the damage was done and Wingate was in a groove. She retired the Mavericks in order in the last two innings, fanning four.
"She had that look in her eye," Franklin coach Rick Wiscott said.
Pub Date: 4/16/97