Westminster ends C. Milton Wright’s reign in 3A state softball; No. 1 Bo Manor, Eastern Tech, Severna Park off to championship weekend (VIDEO HERE!!)
by Derek Toney
Westminster High softball seniors Jill Haines, Bailey Whalen and Olivia Herman were tasked with bringing along a sophomore-laden roster this spring. The process has been successful, and now, the Owls are a win away from a championship.
Westminster defeated No. 5 C. Milton Wright in a Class 3A state semifinal at Bachman Park in Glen Burnie. No. 1 Bohemia Manor, Eastern Tech and No. 2 Severna Park each punch tickets to the final round at the University of Maryland this weekend.
The road, however, ended for No. 9 Howard, Reservoir, Rising Sun and fourth-ranked Sparrows Point. The Lions put Northwest in an early hole, but the defending 4A champs from Montgomery County succinctly answered to take a 9-2 decision.
The Ellicott City school got RBI singles from Shanya Gordon and Sophia Morton – part of four-hit second inning. The Jaguars came back with three runs – all with two outs – in the top of third, highlighted by Kaylah Qassis’ two-run home run and added five more runs over the third and fourth innings.
“Northwest hit the ball really hard and we weren’t spotting the ball well, but that’s a great hitting team,” said Lions coach Mike Rice. “Take away some of our errors, it was a good game.”
Katie Unkle and Gordon each had three hits for Howard (18-6). Megan Ridenour had a 3-run homer for Northwest, which ended Montgomery league rival Sherwood’s five-year title reign last year.
Another HoCo squad, Reservoir fell 6-0 to southern Maryland power Huntingtown in a 3A semifinal. Calie Hilgenberg had a two-run double and Tori Fletcher tossed a three-hitter for the Hurricanes (22-1).
Huntingtown will play Westminster for the state title Friday evening.
Hunter Little, Desi Hatazaoks and Bre Smith each singled for Reservoir (17-6), which reached its first state semifinal since 2012. Seniors Little, Smith, Holly Daum, Abby Wang, Emily Lloyd, Emma Bailey and Katy Wnuk-Fink helped the Fulton school construct one of its best seasons in HoCo play.
“They’re leaving a lasting impression on Reservoir softball, but the nice thing is that they’ve set the example and I have some underclassmen who’ll be back and have learned from them and will leave their own mark,” said Gators coach Julie Frisvold. “We’re not done. Reservoir softball is going to be around.”
Rising Sun’s season ended with a 3-1 loss to LaPlata in the 2A semifinals. Sydney Bales’ 2-run double in the third, and Ava Krahling’s five-hitter was the difference for the Chargers (21-3).
Allie Borchardt’s sixth inning single scored Ally Bradford for Rising Sun’s only run. It was the Cecil County squad’s first state semifinal since 2012.
In its first state semifinal since 2015, Sparrows Point was handled by Frederick County’s Catoctin, 12-2. Jessie Wood drove in three runs, and pitched an one-hitter.
Jayda Foos’ single with two outs in the fifth was the lone hit for the Baltimore County champ Pointers (19-3). Sarah Jenson’s groundout plated Savannah Hunter with Sparrows Point’s first run in the fourth.
Though the Pointers fell short in their bid for a first state title, longtime coach Duke Vickery was proud of what they’ve accomplish.
“Winning the county championship being a small 1A school and beating all the larger schools in Baltimore County was quite an accomplishment,” said Pointers coach Duke Vickery.
Though its reign as Baltimore County champs ended, Eastern Tech is back in the state championship round after a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Frederick County’s Walkersville. Casey Turner and Amaya Chmielewski each drove in two runs, and Natalie Bates went 2-for-3.
Trailing 6-2, the Mavericks (13-5)scored the final five runs and escaped a two-on, one out dilemma in the seventh to earn their first state final bid since 2014. Eastern Tech will play LaPlata Friday evening in College Park.
“We just had to find a way to come back,” said Turner. “Coming to Bachman has always been struggle, but we’ve really worked hard as a team.”
Eastern Tech, which won the 2A crown in 2014, lost in the state semifinals the previous two seasons. After taking a 2-1 lead, Walkersville scored five runs in the fourth, including a three-run blast from Katelyn Burdette, for a four-run advantage.
The Mavericks answered with five in the fourth, including Chmielewski’s two-run single and Sam Hargis’ RBI single with two outs. Walkersville had runners at first and second with one out, but Mavericks sophomore pitcher Rilee Fazenbaker induced a pair of force outs to third to end it.
Top-ranked Bo Manor is on the verge of a repeat after disposing of Charles County’s Lackey, 13-0. Maddie Penta and sophomore Alexa Hopper combined on a one-hitter.
The Cecil County school (22-0) blew the game open with a six-run fifth inning to advance to Saturday’s final against Catoctin.
Severna Park advanced to its first state final since 2006 with a 10-0 five inning decision over Prince George’s County Charles H. Flowers. Campbell Kline drove in three runs for the Falcons, and Marissa Heuer pitched four no-hit innings.
The Anne Arundel County champs, who won the league title on the same Bachman Field a couple of weeks ago, didn’t mind a shorten match after playing back-to-back region matches Monday. The Falcons caught another break when rain washed out Tuesday’s original semifinal slate of games.
“I’m happy we got rained out yesterday because my arm was pretty tired,” said Heuer. “This whole team has worked so hard. I’m really excited to go to the championship game.”
The Falcons (23-2) finished with 13 hits Wednesday as Kline, a Maryland recruit, had three to push her state public single-season record total 66. Jessie Smith had two RBI.
Severna Park, which last won a state title in 2003, will try to claim Anne Arundel County’s first crown since 2010 (Broadneck; 4A) Saturday against Northwest.
“We have all worked so hard for this throughout the season and seasons before,” said Kline. “I’m just so excited to be going to states.”
In a battle of the last two 3A state champs, Westminster got a tie breaking single from sophomore first basemen Lisa Scanlon in the sixth inning as the Owls dethroned C. Milton Wright.
Jackie Coyle drove in three runs for Westminster (14-6), which will play Huntingtown for the state title Friday evening in College Park. The Owls defeated the southern Maryland in the 2016 state final.
After a rough season in 2017, Westminster has rebounded this spring with 10 sophomores and two freshmen on the roster.
Herman, a senior catcher, was ecstatic about Owls’ poise.
“We stayed focus on our end goal,” said Herman. “Jill had a great game in the circle and Jackie had three hits. She was on fire tonight and it’s big coming from a team with young girls.”
Coyle smashed a solo home run against Mustangs senior Katie Murphy in the opening inning, but C. Milton Wright answered with four runs in its first-at bat, featuring a RBI double from Murphy and Lauren Meyers.
The Carroll County school got a four-spot in the top of third as Coyle’s bases loaded single plated two and Scanlon added a RBI single. Scanlon answered again in the sixth with go-ahead RBI, and the Owls got a solo shot from Herman and RBI triple from sophomore centerfielder Maddie Olexy for a three-run advantage.
“All season long, we’ve been able to dig down when it counted, manufactured runs. It doesn’t come from one person,” said Owls coach April Sexton. “We know anybody is capable of coming up with the clutch hit.”
Murphy finished with two RBI for the Mustangs (15-5), and junior Emily Rutkowski went 4-for-4. After taking the top prize last season, C. Milton Wright fell short of a return trip to College Park.
“It’s unfortunate our defense made some mistakes,” said Mustangs coach Jim French. “The plays we normally make we didn’t, and this is the type of team if you let them hang around they’ll hurt you.”
After winning five games last spring, Westminster was confident going into 2018 despite its youth.
“We knew had the potential to be good,” said Whalen. “We’ve utilized every single player. That’s big in nail-biter games like this.”
“It’s been a long grind,” said Herman, “but it’s been a fun ride.”
MPSSAA SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
Wednesday’s state semifinal results
at Bachman Park
Bohemia Manor 13, Lackey 0
Catoctin 12, Sparrows Point 2
Eastern Tech 7, Walkersville 6
LaPlata 3, Rising Sun 1
Huntingtown 6, Reservoir 0
Westminster 8, C. Milton Wright 5
Northwest 9, Howard 2
Severna Park 10, Charles H. Flowers 0
State final schedule
at University of Maryland