Giving up a few runs in the first inning doesn't worry Allie Sitton. In some ways, she's come to expect it.
Perhaps that's why the Park sophomore pitcher didn't get overly anxious when Roland Park collected three runs in the first inning of yesterday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference championship final.
Instead, Sitton and the rest of the Bruins put together a burst of their own, tallying seven runs in each of the first and second innings to score a decisive 14-3 victory in five innings at Arlington Baptist.
"I think the entire team, we're always jittery at the start of a game and we make a lot of errors," said Sitton. "But as the game goes on, we get stronger."
The win helped secure Park's first crown since capturing the Association of Independent Schools title in 1997. Coincidentally, the Bruins -- who capped a 12-0 record -- finished the 1997 season with a 15-0 mark.
A significant factor in that achievement was the play of Sitton (10-0). After the Reds posted three runs in the first inning, Sitton settled into a zone, striking out nine batters, not giving up a hit and allowing just two base runners.
The same could have been said of Roland Park pitcher Kristen LaMotte, who didn't allow a run after the second inning.
But LaMotte (9-2) could not escape the first two innings in which she issued nine walks and threw 77 pitches.
Park coach Larry Lichtig, whose squad led the C Conference in walks with 93 before yesterday's game, said the strategy revolved around waiting out LaMotte's pitches.
"Walks are borne out of patience," Lichtig said. "Fortunately, she was a little off today, and we took advantage of that."
Second baseman Mary Notari went 1-for-2 with an RBI double, two runs scored and three stolen bases; shortstop Laura Greenberg went 1-for-3 and drove in two runs; and right fielder Meredith Friedman reached base safely in three at-bats, drove in three runs and scored twice for the Bruins.
Roland Park (10-2) was paced by first baseman Lauren Dodrill's two-run triple and left fielder Grace Park's RBI single, but Reds coach Mary Hain said the team's inexperience played a role.
"We were prepared for her," Hain said, noting that the team simulated Sitton's fastballs by hitting against a batting machine tuned to throw pitches at 70 miles per hour. "After that first inning, I thought we were going to hit her all game. But the nerves took over."