Entering this summer's softball circuit, Shamrocks 18-under Coach Tommy Orndorff was concerned about how his young pitchers in rising junior All-Met Megan Elliott of Calvert and Broad Run rising senior Jenny Clohan would handle the higher-level competition.
But Orndorff has been pleasantly surprised as the duo -- along with Virginia Tech-bound Angela Tincher of Roanoke -- led the Shamrocks to the semifinals of the prestigious Boulder (Colo.) Independence Day Invitational that ended Sunday.
The Shamrocks (26-4-4) posted a 10-2-2 record during the five-day tournament. The team fell 3-0 to eventual champion California Batbusters Haning-Gold in the semifinals.
"I told people two weeks before the tournament that if we had a concern it was whether a 14-under pitcher [Elliott], a 16-under pitcher [Clohan] and a kid from Roanoke could handle the competition. We really had three new pitchers and a lack of experience in our youth," Orndorff said. "Those three kids have performed far better than expected. Clohan more than held her own and Megan really stepped up big time."
Elliott tossed a three-hitter with seven strikeouts and one walk, and catcher Julie Meyer of New Jersey executed a squeeze bunt to score the game's only run as the Shamrocks took their first-ever victory over the California Batbusters, 1-0, in pool play. The Shamrocks lost to the Batbusters in last year's championship.
Tincher and Clohan combined for a 2-1 victory over the California Strikers to help the Shamrocks reach the semifinals. Tincher gave up only one run before she was relieved in the bottom of the fifth with one out. Clohan got two strikeouts to close the inning and finished the game. All-Met Player of the Year shortstop Courtney Bures of Stonewall Jackson had an RBI and scored the other run for the Shamrocks.
Rising Rock and Fire
The 18-under Rock and Fire, which features All-Met pitcher Cristi Ecks of Osbourn, qualified for its first berth in the ASA 18-under Gold Nationals championships in Marietta, Ga., from Aug. 9 to Aug. 15.
The Rock and Fire (21-3-2) earned the bid three weeks ago by winning the ASA central championship in West Virginia. Of its 21 victories, 15 have been shutouts.
"That was big for a young team," Coach Don Lyddane said. "We're a young 18-and-under team with only one girl who has finished her senior year. Everybody else is sophomores and juniors. . . . As a matter of fact, we weren't sure we were ready to go to the gold division or not. But we've got really good pitching, so we thought we should give it a shot."
4 All-Mets in All-Star Game
Four All-Mets will be among 32 players from Maryland public and private schools participating in the seventh annual Old Line Classic Senior All-Star Game on July 14 at 5 p.m. at Prince George's Community College. The players were chosen through a draft conducted by a selection committee headed by former Pallotti coach Dan Hogan.
All-Mets Danielle Martinez of North County and Lindsey Preuss of La Plata will lead the Red Team. The Gold Team will include All-Mets Brittany Owen of Chesapeake and Kristin Fusco of Pallotti. Admission is $5.