Bo Manor’s Maddie Penta no-hits Sparrows Point, No. 1 Eagles win their third straight 1A state softball crown (VIDEO HERE!)

by Gary Adornato

Bohemia Manor High junior pitching phenom Maddie Penta wanted to be at her absolute best in Saturday’s Class 1A state softball championship against Sparrows Point at the University of Maryland Softball Stadium.

If she wasn’t than future opponents better hope she never is.

Penta was absolutely masterful in firing a complete game no hitter and tying a state championship game record with 19 strikeouts, as the top-ranked Eagles captured their third consecutive 1A state crown with an 8-0 win over the Pointers.

“I always strive to be my best on any level and I plan to keep getting better,” said Penta who has already secured a softball scholarship to Auburn University. “There is no plateau area for how good someone can really get and I plan on reaching perfection, if that’s what that means. I will continue to work hard as long as I’m pitching.”

Only Sydney Monaldi put balls in play for the Pointers, on a pair of bunts, one which she popped to Bo Manor (21-1 overall) catcher Anna Wilson and the other which Wilson scooped in front of the plate and threw to first for an assist.

Sparrows Point lead-off hitter Samantha Gamble did make solid contact with two Penta pitches, but it was not the type of contact she wanted. Penta drilled Gamble in her left side with the first pitch of the game to quickly spoil the potential of a perfect game and Penta also hit Gamble in the elbow in the second inning.

Gamble stole second in the first inning and moved to third on a wild pitch, to pose the most serious scoring threat for the Pointers (11-11). She was left stranded, however, as Penta struck out the next three hitters. Gamble also stole second in the second.

One other Pointer, catcher Alyssa Shiflett reached base, drawing a walk in the sixth and she also stole a base. Penta left her there by striking out Megan Harp to end the sixth and then struck out all three Pointers she faced in the seventh.

The 19 strike outs were one more than she had in 2017 as freshman in her first appearance in the state finals. With 19 Penta ties Calvert’s Megan Elliott (2003), Hammond’s Stephanie Speierman (2007) and McDonough’s Melanie Mitchell (2009) with 19 in a state title game.

“It was absolutely amazing to be able to play against that young lady,” said Sparrows Point veteran coach Duke Vickery. “It was something special and we know she’s got some big things ahead for her in D1 ball. We just couldn’t hit this young lady, but we battled the whole game. We had one inning that got away from us a little bit, but I think we played a pretty good game and had some good defensive plays.”

The offensive star for Bo Manor on Saturday was senior designated player Morgan Mullin, who had a double and triple and drove home four runs. With the Eagles up 3-0 in the fourth, Mullin stroked an RBI double to left and then, with the bases loaded in the sixth, she lined a triple to the fence in right-center field. She then came in to score her team’s eighth and final run on a single by teammate Reagan Goldsmith.

Before breaking open the game in the sixth, Mullin said the team stressed being more patient at the plate.

“We talked about regrouping,” said Mullin. “The inning before we had a little trouble because we weren’t waiting on pitches. We regrouped and started being patient, and we did it.”

Morgan Koehler and Aubrey Heath led-off the Bo Manor second with back-to-back singles and Alexa Bailey then singled to load the bases with no one out. Wilson followed with a walk to chase home the game’s first run and a wild pitch scored the second. A third Eagle run appeared to score on a sac-fly to center off the bat of Mullin, but Bailey was called out on appeal for leaving third base too early.

In the third, Carlie Ferguson reached on a one-out double and later scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Koehler. In the fifth, Alexis Hopper, batting for Bailey was hit by pitch to start the inning for Bo Manor. She was sacrificed to second by Wilson and scored on Mullin’s double.

Penta, who was the 2017 and 2018 VSN Pitcher of the Year and will soon receive that honor again in 2019, admits she devotes much of her life to her softball career, running three to four times a week, pitching five or six days a week and practicing as many as eight times per week between her travel and high school teams.

According to first-year Bo Manor head coach Ed Abshagan, Penta’s preparation is the key.

“Her practice is an hour and ten minutes, six days a week,” said Abshagan. “She only has to pitch 40 minutes in a game and she takes a break after 17, 12 pitches. It’s hard to prepare for 66 (mph).”

Penta was happy to come through for her senior teammates.

“They have put so much hard work in over these last three years and I am so thankful for them, because they work hard every day in practice and they give their all on the field,” said Penta of the seniors. “They deserve to have a championship game as their last game.”

Two of those seniors, who now have three titles, are the team’s double-play combination and twin sisters Aubrey and Abigail Heath.

“Our team was really great this year,” said Aubry, who will attend Wake Forest University next year. “It’s very special to end your season on a win. Not many teams get to do that. To end on such a great note is such a great feeling.”

“We had a team that worked really well this year,” added Abigail, who will attend the University of Maryland. “It looked like Maddie was doing a lot of work today because, obviously, she’s an amazing pitcher. It’s amazing to play with her, but I felt we all worked really well as a team this year and we all put in our piece.”

Mullin said Penta is an even better teammate than she is a pitcher.

“Maddie is the best teammate you will ever have,” added Mullin. “She’s a great person on and off the field. We’ve talked all season that we need to be behind her, even though she is immaculate every time.”

For Sparrows Point, the loss snapped a four playoff game winning streak in which they averaged 17.25 runs per game and 16.25 hits per contest. According to Vickery, the team got healthy late in the season which aided its playoff success.

“We had some injuries, five or six throughout the season,” said Vickery. “We didn’t get our second-baseman and shortstop back until late in the season and then we started getting it together.”

at University of Maryland
SP 000 000 0 — 0 0 2
BM 021 104 x — 0 10 0
Kare Fritzges, Megan Hamp (6) and Alyssa Shiflett; Maddie Penta and Anna Wilson
2B: BM-Carlie Ferguson, Morgan Mullin.
3B: BM-Mullin.
WP-BM-Penta LP-SP-Fitzges