Sherwood survives No. 4 Glen Burnie’s dogged comeback, wins 4A state softball championship (VIDEO HERE!)


Glen Burnie’s Jordan Fangman (left with arms folded), Brooke McCormick (holding 4A state finalist trophy) and Wynter Radcliffe watches Sherwood received its state championship medals Saturday evening. Sherwood denied the No. 4 Gophers their first title since 1998 with an 8-7 victory at the University of Maryland.

by Derek Toney

The proverbial clock struck midnight on Glen Burnie High’s Cinderella-like season Saturday evening. The Gophers made those final seconds count.

No. 4 Glen Burnie lost to Montgomery County’s Sherwood, 8-7, in the Class 4A state title game at the University of Maryland.

“I had no doubt we were going to win the game,” said Gophers senior shortstop Jordan Fangman. “We got too much heart to give up.”

Glen Burnie put together a stirring rally in the bottom of seventh, highlighted by senior Gia Dickey’s first varsity home run. With two outs and the tying run at second, Shine Turner grounded out, ending the Gophers’ surprising run to the final day of the public season.

“They traveled a long way. For some reason, Glen Burnie, it’s like we’re at the bottom,” said Glen Burnie coach Dave Sauble. “Like, ‘Let’s scrape Glen Burnie off our shoes.’ They came here to prove a point. We’re just as good as anyone else. We’re better.”

No one projected Glen Burnie as a state title contender going into the spring. Severna Park, coming off a dominant showing in the 4A final last year, had the preseason chatter along with perennial Chesapeake-Anne Arundel and a few others.

With a solid senior cast mixed in with promising newcomers, Glen Burnie finished third in the ultra-competitive Anne Arundel County league. The Gophers won several matches in come-from-behind fashion, leaving Sauble to call them “coronary kids.”

“Make it right,” became the Gophers’ rallying cry in the postseason. Things went right, then wrong, then almost exhilaratingly right Saturday evening.

In the bottom of the first, Fangman legged out an infield single, then scored when sophomore Lillian Cook’s hard liner into the outfield was mishandled. Gophers sophomore pitcher Wynter Radcliffe escaped runners at second and third and one out in the third.

Glen Burnie wasn’t as fortunate in the fourth. Summer Green’s two RBI double and two-run triple from Gracie Manilapaz put Sherwood (21-1 overall) ahead. Green added a run-scoring double in the sixth.

The Gophers (19-4) got two back in the home half as Cook scored on a fielder’s choice and courtesy runner Madison Montroy scored on a passed ball. The Warriors, who defeated Glen Burnie in the 2013 4A final, tacked on three runs in the seventh for an insurmountable 8-3 advantage.

Well, it appeared to be insurmountable.

“We always like come from behind and make it interesting,” said Radcliffe, who was the hero in Glen Burnie’s comeback over Montgomery County’s Walt Whitman in the semifinals at Bachman Park Tuesday evening.

With an out, Dickey sent a majestic blast over the leftfield wall. Fangman, with her team down to its final out, singled left, and came around on Cook’s triple to right center.

Brooke McCormick brought in Cook with a liner into left. Katie Gouty sliced an opposite field double to right, plating courtesy runner Tariah Payne, making it 8-7.

Turner swung at Warrior pitcher Samantha Combs’ first offering, sending a hard one-hopper to shortstop Nicole Ladino, who threw to first to end the game. Friday evening, Sherwood baseball’s blew a 2-run advantage in the bottom of seventh, losing in nine innings to upstart Old Mill in the 4A final at Ripken Stadium.

There was no miracle finish for Glen Burnie Saturday. But the Gophers made it fun.

“That last inning was the Glen Burnie Gophers in a nutshell,” Sauble said.

The Gophers have a promising future with starters Rosemarie Wendenhof, Nichole Newcomer Cook, Holly Soto and Radcliffe set to return next spring with four other underclassmen.

Saturday was the final hoorah for Fangman, McCormick, Gouty, Dickey, Mikala Conley and Turner.

“We knew we could do it. This year, we had to push through,” said Fangman, who will play for Anne Arundel Community College next spring. “We’re down three runs to Severna Park, comeback, win. Down one run to Whitman, comeback, win. Down six runs to Arundel, comeback, win.

This game, down five runs with two outs, we score four. You can’t ask much more than that.”

CLASS 4A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

AT UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

SHERWOOD 8, NO. 6 GLEN BURNIE 7

Sherwood 000 401 3 – 8 7 2

Glen Burnie 100 002 4 – 7 11 2

Combs and Mathis; Radcliffe and McCormick

2B: Sherwood – Green 2; Glen Burnie – McCormick

3B: Sherwood – Manlapaz; Glen Burnie – Cook

HR: Glen Burnie – Dickey