Kayli Paugh

Howard pitcher Kayli Paugh struck out seven and allowed just five hits Tuesday, helping the Lions earn a key 12-1 victory over Hammond. (File photo by Brian Krista / April 23, 2013)

Howard coach Chuck Rice had been waiting all season for his girls to put it all together. Tuesday, on the road against Hammond, he got his wish.

The Lions produced hits in bunches, got a shutdown pitching performance from Kayli Paugh and rolled their way to a convincing, 12-1, victory over the Golden Bears in five innings.

“That was our ‘A’ game … (Coach Sam Vonella) and I have been waiting all season to see a game like that from this group,” Rice said. “Our two seniors led us with their bats and everybody seemed to follow them.

“By far, that’s the best game I’ve seen these girls play.”

Howard (8-3, 10-4) scored at least one run in every inning and really broke things open in the fifth when it plated seven runs to create the game’s first double-digit advantage. All nine batters in the line-up scored at least once on the afternoon.

Senior Katie Wilkinson led the way offensively with a couple RBI on three hits, including a double and a triple. Fellow senior Julie Barnhouse also chipped in with a couple hits and two RBI.

In the circle, Paugh gave up just the one earned run — a double by Hammond’s Jill Purdy that scored Samantha Speierman (2-3) in the third inning. The Lions pitcher struck out seven batters and allowed five hits.

Samantha Speierman pitched for Hammond (8-3, 9-3) and struck out eight batters herself, but did allow 10 hits and didn't get any help from the handful of errors behind her. It was the most runs she’s surrendered all year.

Emily Speierman, who came on to finish out the fifth inning, went 2-3 at the plate for the Golden Bears.

The win was a big step forward for Howard, which already has three county losses this spring but has been playing better of late.

“We keep telling the girls that this whole season is like a journey and they have to take each game as a step down the road toward regionals and then hopefully states,” Rice said. “We’re trying to get them to learn something from each game, use it to make them better … you can see we are starting to take those steps and that’s definitely exciting.”

Howard 12, Hammond 1

            123 45             R-H-E

Ho       112 17             12-11-0

Ha       001 00             1-5-6

Other scores:

River Hill 9, Centennial 1

After two straight setbacks the Hawks got back on the winning track Tuesday, capitalizing on a four-run second inning and cruising the rest of the way.

Kristy Selby pitched for River Hill and had seven strikeouts and no walks. At the plate, Kat Varga (3-3), Meg Sterling (3-4), Kinsey Johnson (2-3) and Selby (2-3) all had big days. Courtney Colosimo added a double.

Emily Bowman led Centennial with a 3-3 day, including an RBI. Emma Harring and Jordan Burk each added doubles for the Eagles, who finished with seven hits.

            123 456 7        R-H-E

C         000 010 0        1-7-2

RH      040 320 x        9-15-2

Mt. Hebron 6, Marriotts Ridge 3

The Vikings kept the ball rolling in the right direction, pounding out nine hits and emerging victorious over the Mustangs. Evvie Buehlman got the victory as Mt. Hebron’s pitcher, scattering eight hits and recording three strikeouts.

Alex Stim continued her great play in the outfield, making a diving catch to rob a Marriotts Ridge hit.

Highlights for Mt. Hebron at the plate included doubles from Buehlman and Maddie Bennett.

Marriotts Ridge got mult-hit games from Katie Smith (double) and Danielle Lein (3 RBI). Lindsay Kellner scored two of the team’s three runs and also had a stolen base.

            123 456 7        R-H-E

MR      100 000 2        3-8-2

MH     001 401 x        6-9-2

Glenelg 16, Long Reach 2

The Gladiators remained hot at the plate, scoring 16 runs in five innings. Leah Allen (2-3, 3 runs, SB) and Marissa Saglimbeni (2 runs, SB) each delivered two-run home runs to highlight the offensive outburst.

Other big days for Glenelg came from Toni Pritchard (3-4, double, 2 runs, RBI) and Grace Daigle (2-3, double, 2 runs, 2 RBI). Overall, 10 different players scored for the Gladiators. Colleen Regan pitched, striking out four and walking four.

Long Reach got its two runs in the fifth inning courtesy of a 2-RBI double by Alina Milauskas that scored Isa Carunungan (2-3, double) and Cloe Dixon (2-3).

            123 45             R-H-E

G         324 07             16-15-0

LR       000 02             2-5-2

Chapelgate 9, McDonogh 4

The Yellowjackets avenged an earlier loss to McDonogh, wasting no time jumping out to a solid lead. Chapelgate scored three in the first inning and added another run in the second. The team later added a four-run fifth inning.

Nicole Edmondson, Clara Sevy and Gabby Rowan all had two hit days at the plate for the Yellowjackets. Bethanne Venkatesan pitched the complete game and struck out four.

            123 456 7        R-H-E

M        001 010 2        4-6-3

CCA    310 140 x        9-9-3