The good times ended yesterday for sophomore right-hander Amanda Donaldson and her on-rushing Severna Park teammates against North County, a team capable of ruining anybody's softball fun in Anne Arundel County.

Especially if the ninth-ranked Knights get some help, as they did yesterday in their 3-2 victory over the eighth-ranked Falcons at Severna Park.

North County (8-5) scored two runs on passed balls, and Kellie Evans hit a Donaldson changeup for a bases-empty home run, giving the visitors all the runs they needed. Knights sophomore pitcher Amy Balonis threw a five-hitter, struck out six and walked just one, and improved her record to 4-0.

And on a day that featured Donaldson pitching brilliantly again, the North County win ended Severna Park's seven-game winning streak.

"I needed a computer to keep up with all of Donaldson's strikeouts," said North County coach Brian Love. "But you have to give a lot of credit to Amy Balonis. She kept the ball around the plate, didn't make any mistakes, and got some help in the sixth when Jen Jump robbed Donaldson of a possible extra-base hit in center field."

Jump raced in and made a sliding catch to retire Donaldson on a sinking line drive.

Jump also had a triple and Kendra Heiser collected a double for the winners.

Donaldson (8-3) struck out 13, walked one and allowed just four hits. But four passed balls and one error sabotaged her performance.

"I'm really disappointed," said Donaldson, who can pitch with either hand -- she's 6-2 right-handed and 2-1 left-handed, with a total of 92 strikeouts in 74 innings.

"I was very focused out there on the mound," she said. "I was popping the ball hard on the corner, but we made some mistakes. I guess you would call them mental errors more than anything else."

One of those mental errors was hesitation on a relay throw home that was too late to get North County's Evans, who circled the bases for her fourth-inning home run that tied the game at 2.

North County scored the deciding run in the sixth after Julie Petryszak hit a one-out single to center. Amy Rychwalski ran for Petryszak and advanced to second when Evans reached on an error. The runners moved to second and third respectively on a passed ball, and then Rychwalski scored on another of four passed balls charged to Severna Park catcher Tara Tate.

North County took a 1-0 lead in the first on another passed ball, but Severna Park (8-5) tied it at 1 on Donaldson's sacrifice fly in the first and went ahead, 2-1, on Kristin Carpenter's two-out home run in the third inning.

"We'll be back and more focused the next time out," said Severna Park coach Duane McAlister. "You have to feel sorry for Amanda Donaldson today."

Pub Date: 4/25/97

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