If top-ranked Chesapeake's season-opening visit at No. 5 Glen Burnie yesterday was any indication as to what lies ahead in the county, expect to find strong pitching and defense with execution at the plate a must.
That's right: typical Anne Arundel County softball.
Senior All-Metro pitcher Lindsay Ettinger allowed just three hits, made the most of her five strikeouts, and the visiting Cougars scored an unearned run in the fourth inning for a 1-0 win over the Gophers.
"Lindsay did what Lindsay does and that's shut them down," said Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger. "She has a great ability to remain focused. She's been there and knows how to come through."
The bottom of the sixth proved to be Ettinger's been-there showcase.
After allowing just one Gopher to reach base (Cricket Conley's second-inning single) through five innings, she yielded a pinch-hit single to Shannon Collins to open the inning. But after pinch runner Michelle Davis immediately stole second base, Ettinger struck out three straight to protect the 1-0 lead.
She then got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh, getting Amy Grail to pop out to third baseman Brittany Owen to end the game.
"Typical Glen Burnie game," Ettinger said. "First game of the season, usually I'm a little nervous but I was confident. I just tried to stay inside on their hands and also up high so they would chase some things - especially in bunt situations."
Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino is well aware the margin of error is small when going up against Ettinger and the Cougars.
Yesterday, a sun-aided outfield error and the inability to get bunts down to move runners were costly. The Cougars scored when Owen (2-for-3) singled up the middle with two outs and scored on Ettinger's high fly to left field, which outfielder Jen Gribben lost in the sun.
"I was happy with the effort, but a good effort isn't good enough against that team. We squandered some opportunities," said Broccolino. "[Ettinger] did a nice job of mixing up her pitches and we were a little too anxious today."
The Gophers also got a fine pitching performance from Beth Slater, who allowed five hits and also was poised in working her way out of trouble in the second and sixth innings.