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Centennial Keeps Hitting, Gains First Place Alone

Centennial 8, Long Reach 4

By Rich Campbell
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, April 21, 2005; Page D10

Judging from Centennial's batting yesterday, Long Reach pitcher Amy Guyton was convinced the Eagles knew exactly what pitches she was going to throw.

Five Eagles had two hits apiece as No. 7 Centennial pounded out 13 hits en route to an 8-4 home victory in a Howard County softball matchup of undefeated teams.

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"They were hitting good pitches," Guyton said. "I think people have come to games -- we've even seen them come to a game -- so they knew my style of pitching. I tried my best to keep it away from them, but they're a very good hitting team."

The victory gave Centennial (9-0) sole possession of first place in the county. Centennial Coach Dale Huting attributed much of his team's success to its offensive prowess, calling the Eagles "the strongest-hitting team I've had in ten years."

The Eagles scored three runs in the first inning without making an out after the first four batters hit safely. An RBI single by Jessica Olenick and a two-run double by Jessica Grimshaw gave the Eagles the lead for good.

"From the first person to the last person, everyone can hit," Olenick said. "We've had a lot of practice, and we just knew we had to swing at the first pitches, get up on her and score early so we could set the tone for the rest of the game."

The three-run first inning gave the Eagles confidence that they could hit Guyton, who has pitched every game for the Lightning (8-1) this season

"I think, especially in a big game, that's sort of an icebreaker," Huting said. "It makes everyone feel much more comfortable with what's going on."

Long Reach scored twice in the top of the second, but Eagles freshman pitcher Katie Hobson settled down after that. She did not allow a runner past second base for the next three innings, while Centennial extended its lead to 8-2. Hobson yielded two earned runs, struck out seven and walked none.

"I just planned on facing them like I do every team -- just try to throw as many strikes as I can and try to get as many strikeouts as I can," Hobson said. "I've had games like that before, but probably not against a team this tough."

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