Senior pitcher Holly Gick threw a no-hitter at 11th-ranked Howard yesterday, leading 10th-ranked River Hill to a 1-0 victory in a Class 2A South region opening-round game in Clarksville.
The Hawks rested a short while after their 1 hour, 19 minute victory, then disposed of Central-Prince George's County, 24-2, in a quarterfinal game.
River Hill (17-4) will meet the winner of today's game between Centennial at Long Reach tomorrow in a semifinal.
Howard (13-6) got the ball out of the infield only once -- leadoff hitter Stacey Swiney was out on a flyball to center field in the first inning. Gick faced only 22 batters, and struck out eight and walked two.
"That was probably her best game [of the season]," River Hill coach Dave Vitagliano said. "One of the keys was that she stayed ahead of the hitters. And any time you get a run in the first inning, it makes the pitcher's job easier."
River Hill scored in the first using two of its four hits against Howard pitcher Kelly O'Neill. Sophomore shortstop Amanda Bile, playing on a sprained right ankle, smashed a one-out single down the third-base line, then stole second. Sophomore first baseman Lisa Humphrey lined a solid double to right center, easily scoring Bile.
Gick said she didn't know she had a no-hitter until after the game.
"I try not to think about that," Gick said. "It's just not that important to me. Winning is much more important."
Swiney said Gick was in control from the start.
"She had good movement on her pitches," said Swiney.
"I was focusing on keeping the ball low and hitting the spots," Gick said. "I was just trying to keep them off balance. Everything was working."
Said Howard coach Dave Vezzi, whose team lost three times this spring to River Hill: "Unlike the other games, when we gave them unearned runs, they earned this one. She [Gick] pitched a good game."
Long Reach 22, Surrattsville 1: In the first game of a scheduled doubleheader, the Lightning scored 11 runs in the first inning and easily defeated the Prince George's County team in another Class 2A South game. The opening-game winner was supposed to play Centennial in the nightcap, but Surrattsville arrived 2 1/2 hours late. Long Reach will play host to Centennial at 3: 30 p.m. today.
Pub Date: 5/14/98