Battery's up for C.M. Wright in triumph over Bel Air, 9-1 Siler and Ruleau lead Mustangs to early runs, win


A "battered battery" of Melanie Siler and Heather Ruleau overcame base-running collisions to lead C. Milton Wright (9-2, 2-0) to a 9-1 Harford County League triumph over visiting Bel Air (6-2, 0-1) yesterday.

In the first three innings, the home team gave Siler, a junior right-hander, all the runs she needed. A hit batter, a sacrifice bunt by Emily Marcheski, and a throwing error led to a run in the first, and Angie Byrd singled home a run in the third.

Wright then made sure of the decision with four runs in the fourth, highlighted by Siler's two-run double, and a solo homer by Ruleau, her second in two days and third of the season.

Byrd and Carrie Caudill joined Siler with two hits apiece.

For Bel Air, Colleen Keefe homered, and Kellie Flynn singled -- the team's only hits. Jody Leftwich, who had pitched Bel Air's Tuesday win over Fallston, was not as effective this time, giving up 10 hits.

Siler scraped her left leg and banged the knee sliding into second in the third inning. An inning later, Ruleau was tagged in the mouth with the ball as she dove for third base from one side, and third baseman Stacey Handshoe lunged from another.

Each was able to continue, although not without hurting.

"I was in a lot of pain, and for a while did not think I could make it," said Siler, who was coming in off three successive one-hitters.

"I was stunned," said Ruleau, a senior in her third season as the starting catcher, "and right now I have a terrible headache."

Wright had lost the county championship to Bel Air last year, then had pinned a 12-1 loss on the Bobcats last week in a non-league game. Wright's losses were to Rising Sun and North Harford in an early non-league game. It won the one that counted last week, 8-0, on a one-hitter by Siler.

"It taught us to concentrate on every opponent," Ruleau said of the early loss to the Hawks. "I think we were overconfident, and we didn't hit."

Siler added: "The pitcher can't do it all. You need defense and hitting."

Of her pitching, Siler said, "My confidence and accuracy are better than last year. Now, I know what I want to do -- and I can do it. Last year, I knew, and just hoped I could do it."

Ruleau, who is hitting around .550, spoke of confidence, too.

"We boost each other's. I have confidence and trust in her. I know what she can do and how to handle her pitching."

This was a key win for Wright, because Bel Air has a strong team.

"The thing that pleased me was our defense," said Wright's fourth-year coach, Joe Dunch.

Pub Date: 4/17/97

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