Top-ranked Glen Burnie was at its resourceful best in yesterday's Class 4A East region championship at Randazzo Park.
The Gophers' reward was a solid 4-0 win over county rival Severna Park and their first trip to the state tournament since 1989, when they won their second state title. They'll take on the winners of the West region in the state semifinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Randazzo Park.
One hit, one walk and two Severna Park errors resulted in three third-inning runs, more than enough for senior pitcher Michelle Whelan and a Gophers' defense that is playing its best ball of the season.
"With our pitchers, 3-0 is a pretty good lead with how well they're both pitching. And how about our defense?," said Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino, who got a two-hitter from senior Jen Zabetakis in Friday's 2-0 semifinal win over North County.
"Good pitching, good defense and some timely hitting, I can't ask for anything more from the girls right now," Broccolino said.
The Gophers (17-4) took the tough road through the talented East region. They opened with a come-from-behind, 4-3 win over No. 9 Chesapeake in the quarterfinals -- Whelan scoring two with a single in the bottom of the seventh -- and reached the final with a 2-0 win over No. 4 North County.
"We feel a lot more comfortable now than we did at the beginning of the season," said senior first baseman Michelle Ogle, who hit a run-scoring double in the sixth for insurance. "We're not making many mistakes and when we do, we always come up with the big play after. We want our senior year to end with a state championship."
Mistakes is what caught up with the No. 6 Falcons, who ended a solid season at 15-8 and will bring back most of their talent next year.
With runners on second and third and one out in the third, Marianne Ogle hit a tapper to standout pitcher Amanda Donaldson, who looked to first before making a late decision to throw home. Her hurried throw was wide and two runs scored. It was the second error of the inning for the Falcons.
"We threw the ball away twice in one inning. You can't do that in these kinds of games," said Severna Park coach Duane McAlister. "We made some mental errors and a couple of physical errors and that kills you. But we didn't give up and that's what I liked."
The Falcons had two runners on in the fifth and two more in the seventh, but Whelan, who scattered six hits, was aways able to get the last out.
Bonnie Nevin had two singles to lead the Gophers' six-hit attack. Lauren Pollock had two singles for the Falcons.
The game was delayed 20 minutes in the middle of the third when plate umpire Joe Kisser had to leave the game with dizziness due to the extreme heat.
After some fluids and some time in the shade, he was fine.
Pub Date: 5/17/98