Just call Glenelg this year’s version of the Cardiac Kids. Down one heading into the bottom of the seventh inning Monday, having just watched Hammond score four runs to take the lead, the Gladiators calmly produced two runs of their own to pull out a dramatic 5-4 victory in a battle between two of the county’s final three unbeaten squads.
It was the third time in 10 games that Glenelg (7-0, 10-0) has scored in the seventh inning or later to pull out a victory this season.
“For us it’s a mentality now, dating all the way back to last year,” Glenelg coach Ray Gerstner said. “These girls always come out, no matter what the situation may be, and they’re not willing to give up until that last out.”
Glenelg’s Mandy Bendix, who came in at pitcher in the top of the seventh to stop the bleeding, ended up as the hero. The senior forced a groundout to keep Hammond (5-1, 6-1) from adding any more to its lead before delivering an RBI double to center in the bottom half of the inning to plate the tying run and set up the eventual winning score.
“I think the biggest key in these situations is that we trust our instincts and go back to the basics,” Bendix said. “In that moment, it doesn’t matter who is up there, we feel like we’re going to do whatever we need to do. Today it happened to be me in that spot.”
While heartbroken after watching its comeback bid fall short, Hammond’s fight until the very end was not lost on its coach Brad Speierman. Having failed to put more than one runner on base in any of the first six innings, the Golden Bears erupted for four hits in the seventh — all of which came with two outs.
Caroline Goyne’s single to right that drove in two was the big one, catapulting her team from down one to up one.
“We had been putting the ball in play just had been hitting it right at people, so I pulled them aside before the seventh inning and told them just keep doing what you’re doing,” Speierman said. “And that’s exactly what they did. They went out and scrapped, scrapped, scrapped. I was very proud of the way the girls pulled together.”
But even with all the momentum in favor of the Bears, Glenelg simply wasn’t to be denied.
Morgan Perry led off with a walk and then, after Hammond pitcher Samantha Speierman (10 strikeouts) got a strikeout, Bendix came to the plate. She calmly ripped one off the fence to score pinch-runner Alison Wilcox.
Alison Piwowarski came in to pinch run for Bendix and, during an at bat by Grace Daigle that went to a full count, she took advantage of a couple wild pitches to score the winning run.
Earlier in the game, Glenelg had gotten all of its three other runs in the fourth inning. A lead-off infield single by Leah Allen, followed by a stolen base and wild pitch set up the first run on a hard hit to shortstop by Marissa Saglimbeni. Then, later in the inning, Morgan Perry and Brooke Redmond each delivered RBI hits to make it 3-0.
Other than the two rough frames, Samantha Speierman was incredibly strong in the circle for Hammond. She stranded runners at third base in each of the first two innings and later put together three 1-2-3 innings.
Colleen Regan was also rolling for the majority of the game for the Gladiators. She scattered four hits, a walk and a hit batter in the first six innings to go with three strikeouts. Hammond never managed to get more than one runner on base in any inning prior to the seventh.
But that final frame was when the Bears finally put it together.
In its portion of the seventh inning, Hammond got a walk from Emily Dowdall with one out to turn the line-up over. But there were still two outs when Samantha Speierman came up.
Her single up the middle, however, broke the seal for the Bears first run of the game. Emily Speierman (2-4) and Jill Purdy (2-4) followed with back-to-back singles to make it 3-2. Then, following a walk by Keyuana Griffin, Goyne came up and delivered a looping single to right to put Hammond ahead for the first time.
“It was a little bit of a snowball effect and I thought a lot of that had to do with momentum — they’re a good team, that’s coached well and disciplined at the plate so that’s going to happen sometimes,” Gerstner said.
Bendix relieved Regan after Goyne’s hit and, after a walk to load the bases, induced a ground ball to get out of the inning. Down one, Glenelg’s offense did the rest.
Hammond doesn’t have much time to reflect on the loss, facing a game against the county’s other undefeated team, River Hill, on Tuesday.
“We have to build and learn from this because we have River Hill tomorrow and that’s going to be another (undefeated) team that can hit from the top to bottom of their order,” Spiereman said. “I think we grew a little bit out there today and hopefully that helps us going forward.”
Glenelg 5, Hammond 4
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Atholton 8, Long Reach 2
Junior Alex Herschman did her part on the pitching rubber, striking out 11 batters, and the bats backed her up en route to the Raiders picking up their seventh win of the season. Offensively, junior Becky Schwab led the team with a 3-3 day, a run and an RBI. Junior Jamie Cardea was 2-3 with 2 RBI and a stolen base, while sophomore Danielle Dolbow added a 3-4 day with two runs, an RBI and a stolen base of her own.
Freshman Miranda Thompson also turned in a notable day at shortstop, going 2-3, scoring a run and delivering a RBI.
Long Reach had four hits, highlighted by a pair of doubles and an RBI from Alina Milauskas. Nolena Ard added a single and a walk.
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Oakland Mills 7, Wilde Lake 5
Tori Gordon delivered a solid day on the mound and the Scorpions’ bats took advantage of three Wilde Lake errors in the first inning to grab an early 5-0 lead that they rode the rest of the way to the team’s first county victory of the season.
Rolanda Hammett was one of the offensive stars for Oakland Mills, delivering a double for one of the team’s 10 hits.
Wilde Lake bounced back nicely from its rough start to allow just two runs after the first inning. Olivia Harrison came in during the fifth inning and pitched three scoreless frames.
After trailing 6-0 entering the third, Wilde Lake got going behind back-to-back singles from Amber Love and Mel Anderson. Sophomore Marissa Sciabarra (2-3) then laced a two-out double to plate both of them.
Trailing by four run in the seventh inning, Wilde Lake kept fighting. With two outs, Anderson ripped a double down the left-field line and then junior Brittany Kuntz followed with a home run to right.
Oakland Mills’ Gordon, however, recovered to get the final out and secure the win.
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River Hill 6, Marriotts Ridge 0
The Hawks kept their undefeated record in tact thanks in part to a four-hitter by pitcher Sabrina Curtiss (4 strikeouts).
Katie Smith did a good job on the mound for Marriotts Ridge, allowing just two earned runs and six hits, but was done in by a couple of bad innings. River Hill scored four in the third and two in the fourth.
In the third, Courtney Doyle singled, Meg Sterling walked and Kinsey Johnson singled to load the bases. Then a Mustangs’ error led to a run and Kristy Selby followed with double to right to plate a couple more.
The fourth inning for River Hill was highlighted by an RBI single from Doyle.
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Howard 5, Mt Hebron 4 (9 innings)
It took a couple extra innings, but the Lions earned a key victory Monday over the Vikings thanks to a game-winning hit by Alli Jakubek. Jakubek delivered a single that scored Kayli Paugh, who had started the inning on second base.
In the top of the ninth, Jakubek had made a huge play at catcher to spoil a Mt. Hebron scoring chance. With a runner on third with one out, Jakubek threw out the runner on a potential squeeze play.
Courtney Merson was the winning pitcher for Howard in a complete-game effort, while Brittany Bryson (2 hits, double, 2 RBI to tie game in sixth), Jakubek (2 hits, RBI), Taylor McGrann (double) and Katie Wilkinson (RBI) were the offensive standouts for the Lions.
Mt. Hebron had scored four runs in the third inning to grab a 4-0 lead that held up until the bottom of the fifth.
Offensive standouts for the Vikings were Evvie Buehlman (double, RBI), Erin Vogan (two hits) and Aaliyah Montague-Bass (RBI).
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Centennial 2, Reservoir 1
The Eagles bounced back from a couple of tough losses last week with a total team effort against the Gators at home. The game was 0-0 going into the sixth inning when the Gators got a couple runners on base and scored on a passed ball.
The score stayed 1-0 in favor of Reservoir until the seventh when Emily Bowman led off and got on base courtesy of an error. Emily Allen followed by getting hit by a pitch. After two straight outs, Sammy Kastner walked to load the bases.
That all set the stage for Josefine Jensen to deliver a walk-off single up the middle.
Bowman had a season-high of 10 strikeouts and allowed just one hit.
Anna Bennett had the lone hit for Reservoir.
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