Northeast captures Cavalier Classic

Pitching and defense were hardly concerns for Northeast softball coach Marianne Shultz. It was the hitting that worried her.

But the fifth-ranked Eagles erased any doubts yesterday by stringing together 12 runs in two games en route to capturing the school's first Cavalier Classic title at Randazzo Park in Severn.


Northeast, which shut out No. 7 Severna Park, 8-0, and No. 14 Catholic, 4-0, emerged from the eight-team field tied with host and defending tournament champion Archbishop Spalding for first place with identical 2-0 marks.

The Eagles won the tournament based on a tiebreaker that awarded the first-place trophy to the team that gave up the fewest runs. Northeast allowed no runs, while the second-ranked Cavaliers gave up two.


Two years ago, the Eagles were on the opposite end of the tiebreaker when North County allowed no runs and Northeast gave up one. Yesterday's championship was the Eagles' first in the five years they have competed in the classic.

"It's real nice," Shultz said, "because with the caliber of talent here, you really have to play well and play focused. For us, that was a huge feat."

Northeast (7-3) also earned a measure of revenge against Severna Park, which had edged the Eagles, 1-0, on Monday.

Falcons junior pitcher Laura Gibson, who limited Northeast to just three hits in that victory, was tagged for seven runs and nine hits, including a bases-clearing triple by Eagles senior Erin Gray in the fifth inning.

"We were really upset that we lost to them in the first place," said Gray, who also hit an inside-the-park home run off Catholic junior pitcher Kelley Tiesi. "I think we play better when people expect more out of us."

For Severna Park (8-1), the loss was the team's first of the season. But coach Jeff Shepherd said the pain may be a blessing in disguise.

"Now we get the undefeated mentality out of the way and focus on the rest of the season," said Shepherd, whose squad shut out Glen Burnie, 2-0.

Archbishop Spalding improved to 10-1 after blanking No. 3 North County, 2-0, and edging No. 4 Chesapeake, 3-2. Cavaliers coach Linda Taylor said she wasn't frustrated about losing the classic on a tiebreaker.


"The teams that I have here today are the best in the state, I believe," Taylor said. "To come away with two wins makes me very, very happy."

Top-ranked Mount de Sales (8-2), No. 9 Glen Burnie (5-5), Chesapeake (8-2) and Severna Park each finished with 1-1 records. Glen Burnie, which defeated Catholic, 1-0, was awarded third place because it allowed just two runs in two games, while Chesapeake gave up three.

The Cougars pulled off a mild upset by upending Mount de Sales, 2-1. An RBI single from senior outfielder Courtney Taylor in the second inning and an error that allowed freshman infielder Tracey Dahlen to cross the plate in the third helped Chesapeake forget about the loss to Archbishop Spalding.

"I know they were down about losing in the bottom of the seventh, but I also knew that we had another chance," said Cougars coach Don Bishoff. "It says a lot about the character of this team to win against a quality club like Mount de Sales."

North County (6-4) - which also lost to Mount de Sales, 4-3, in nine innings - and Catholic (5-5-1) both finished 0-2 and suffered losses of another kind.

Both junior pitcher Brittany Boyd of North County and junior right fielder Chrissy Hemberger of Catholic injured their hamstrings while running the base paths. They could miss a couple of games depending on the extent of their injuries.


Also, junior pitcher Jessica Saunders of Archbishop Spalding felt some discomfort in her left shoulder during a swing, but felt progressively better by the end of the day.