During the course of this season, the C. Milton Wright Mustangs used equal doses of pitching and defense to cruise to a Harford County championship.
In last night's Class 3A state semifinal, however, the Mustangs could have used a stronger prescription.
The Mustangs committed five errors and allowed five unearned runs in their 6-2 loss to La Plata of Charles County at Randazzo Park.
"Mistakes happen, but it's an unfortunate place for them to happen," said Mustangs coach Joe Dunch. "It's kind of unlike us to make this many. We seemed confident coming in, but this is the first time for any of us in a situation like this."
La Plata (16-6) advances to Friday's (8: 30) Class 3A championship game, where the Warriors will face Calvert, a 6-5 winner over Damascus in nine innings.
"We hit. We put the ball in the hole, which is something we had to do," said LaPlata coach Tony Jones. "If we can keep hitting like we're hitting, and punch them in there one at a time, we'll be fine in the final game."
La Plata took advantage of several Mustangs miscues to take an early lead.
After loading the bases, the Warriors made it 1-0 when Melissa Persons' grounder got the best of third baseman Carrie Caudill, allowing Ryanne Bridgett to score.
It was more of the same in the second. Following a dropped pop-up in foul territory and a strange play in which shortstop Holly Dye failed to touch second base on a force play, the Warriors scored two more on RBI singles by Bridgett and Adrienne Draper to make it 3-0. All three LaPlata runs were unearned.
LaPlata added two more runs in the fourth -- on a wild pitch and single by Bethany Brady -- and another in the sixth -- on Leanne hTC Shaw's bases-loaded single.
C. Milton Wright (19-4) made a game of it in the fifth, scoring twice when shortstop Kathleen Borden dropped Ashley Blevins' pop-up after colliding with an outfielder, allowing Erin Rodecker and Nicole Luber to score to make it 5-2.
But that was as close as the Mustangs got.
"I'm not embarrassed by the way we played," Dunch said. "We got on the scoreboard and gave outselves the chances. "I think we accomplished a lot this season."
E. Roosevelt 11, Dulaney 9
In the Class 4A semifinal, Dulaney gave up nine runs on one hit in the sixth inning en route to an 11-9 loss to Eleanor Roosevelt.
In the span of three outs, the Lions' season of dreams turned into the ugliest of nightmares.
Leading Eleanor Roosevelt, 7-2, with only six outs seperating them from a trip to the Class 4A state championship game, the Lions collapsed, committing four errors and walking five while allowing nine runs in the sixth.
The Raiders (15-3), from Prince George's County, advance to Thursday's (4 p.m.) state final against Glen Burnie, a 3-1 winner over Watkins Mill.
"They have a tendency to get rattled by things," said Dulaney coach Mourine White. "They rush, and when they rush they make real bad throws and things like that. Then they try to make up for it, and it just kind of builds."
All told, the game featured 15 errors. Dulaney (11-8) had taken a 7-2 lead after scoring three in the fourth -- off five Roosevelt errors -- and four in the sixth -- off five hits.
With the game seemingly in hand, however, the Lions crumbled, allowing four runs before Raider pitcher Stephanie Martin singled in two runs to give her team the lead.
"We just had to all go up and have a quality at-bat," said Roosevelt coach Billy Hunter. "We made things happen."
Pub Date: 5/20/98