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Last-ditch Centennial rally can't catch 'Cats 5 runs with 2 outs in 7th fall short of Wilde Lake, 6-5


Everything was going Wilde Lake's way yesterday in its game at Centennial.

Pitcher Jen Babish had nine strikeouts through six innings, and the Eagles had stranded seven runners, five in scoring position. When the Wildecats added four runs in a steady rain in the seventh for a 6-0 lead, it looked like a done deal.

It wasn't.

Centennial scored five runs with two outs in the seventh, and left the tying run on third -- before falling, 6-5.

"I'm very happy," said Centennial coach Dale Huting. "This is a team that has to evolve. I think we're playing toward our potential, but we haven't got there yet."

Wilde Lake (9-3 overall, 8-2 league) has won eight straight league games after opening the season with back-to-back 3-2 loses to Centennial and first-place Howard (8-1). The Wildecats have won three of their last four games by one run.

No. 13 Centennial (7-5, 6-4) dropped its third in a row.

Wilde Lake scored in the first on Lauren Cipriani's double and added another run in the fifth. Centennial, meanwhile, had the bases loaded with one out in the first, but Kathy Mitroka flied out and twin-sister Kristy struck out looking. Remember those names.

Centennial's Emily Hall, one of the county's top pitchers, played first base against the Wildecats to rest a sore shoulder. Her replacement, Kim Paulis, held Wilde Lake in check until the seventh. The Wildecats' first four batters reached base -- three on singles. Two batters later, Mai Tran delivered a two-run double to cap the four-run rally.

Sara Misorek started Centennial's rally with a one-out triple. A bunt single by Hall put runners on the corners before Babish, a sophomore, issued her first walk to load the bases. Paulis flied to center for the second out, but Lauren Martin got an infield single off Babish's glove to score Misorek.

Then the Mitroka twins took over. Kathy singled to score two runs, and Kristy followed with a booming shot over the center-fielder for a two-run triple. Suddenly, it was a one-run game.

"It was happening so fast," Babish said. "I had so much adrenalin going after our big inning. I had to regain my composure."

Wilde Lake coach Kelly Storr called time and went to the mound. "When Centennial starting hitting, she got a little rattled. I knew she would pull it out. She's a good pitcher. She just needed to be reminded of that."

Centennial's Angela Strittmatter grounded out to Babish to end the game.

Said Kristy Mitroka: "There's nothing to be upset with. We just have to learn to string the hits together at the beginning and not the end."

Pub Date: 4/18/97

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