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Long ball production carries Navy to Patriot League title Zematis, Benke, Braham lead 29-home run show


Who are these guys anyway?

That must be the question Naval Academy baseball opponents are asking this season. The Midshipmen have gone on a school-record home-run binge that has carried them to a 23-15 overall record and the regular-season Patriot League championship.

The Mids have bashed 29 homers after hitting five last season. They had six against Lafayette and five against Maryland Eastern Shore.

The 29 homers surpass theschool single-season mark of 25 that was set in 1993.

Sophomore designated hitter/first baseman Mark Zematis has seven, and senior shortstop Todd Benke and sophomore right fielder Luke Braham are tied with six.

Tomorrow and Sunday, top-seeded Navy is host to the Patriot League tournament. No. 2 seed Bucknell and No. 3 Army meet tomorrow at noon with the winner advancing to Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series against Navy, 30 minutes after the first game. Game 2 will be Sunday at noon followed by Game 3 (if needed) 30 minutes after the first game .

Salisbury stars

Two Old Mill High products, junior shortstop Stephanie Bennett and senior center fielder Amanda Kopchinski, have led the Salisbury State softball team to a 34-8 overall record and a second straight Capital Athletic Conference tournament championship.

Bennett is hitting .426 with three home runs, 35 RBIs, 13 doubles and five triples. Kopchinski has a .399 batting average with four triples and 17 RBIS.

Bennett was a first-team All-CAC choice and Kopchinski earned second-team All-CAC honors.

Morgan's Kemp on tear

Morgan State junior softball shortstop Tanisha Kemp is on a 25-game hitting streak that has carried her to a .516 batting average, which is second in the country in NCAA Division I.

Kemp is a near-certain choice for Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors for a second straight season and has led the Bears to a 23-7 overall record, 18 straight wins and a 16-0 mark in MEAC Northern Division play.

Ray's bat, arm help UMBC

Freshman pitcher and first baseman Crystal Ray, The Sun's 1997 All-Metro softball Player of the Year from Archbishop Spalding, is the third-leading hitter this season for UMBC with a .353 average and has a 9-9 record on the mound.

Ray leads the Retrievers in RBIs with 30, doubles with 11, total bases with 68 and is tied for second with three home runs.

Her pitching mark includes a team-high 77 strikeouts, four shutouts and a 2.13 earned-run average.

Coppin, Towson recruits

Coppin State basketball coach Fang Mitchell has signed DTC

6-foot-2 point guard Rasheem Sims of Philadelphia's Simon Gratz High to a letter of intent.

As a junior, Sims helped Gratz win the Philadelphia Public School title.

At Towson, second-year coach Mike Jaskulski has signed 6-8 forward Shaun Holtz from Crystal Springs High in Mississippi. Holtz averaged 19.0 points and 10.0 rebounds as a senior.

Pub Date: 5/01/98

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