A little rain and mud couldn’t stop defending Howard County champion Glenelg from starting its season off on the right foot Friday afternoon.
The Gladiators used a pair of big innings — scoring four runs in the third and five in the fifth — to cruise past visiting Long Reach, 10-0.
Colleen Regan picked up the win on the mound, firing four scoreless innings and striking out four along the way. Offensively, Glenelg (1-0) picked up seven hits compared to just one for Long Reach (0-1).
“It was great to see the girls string some hits together and what was even better was that we did it with 13 or 14 out of our 16 girls,” Glenelg coach Ray Gerstner said. “We tried to mix some girls in to give everyone a chance in some live game action because we didn’t get to play any scrimmages this year because of the weather.
“I thought it was a good first game … even when we made outs, a lot of them were productive outs.”
Glenelg got on the board in the first inning, as Grace Daigle walked and came around to score. That 1-0 lead held until the third, when the Gladiators took advantage of a trio of walks, a couple singles and a couple errors to break things open with four runs.
Long Reach had a few chances to get on the board in the third and fourth innings but couldn’t push one across. Lightning runners in the third inning — reaching on a walk and hit-by-pitch — and fourth inning — a single by Samantha Samples — ended up being stranded by strong pitching from Regan.
“With Colleen, it seems like she pitches harder every time someone gets on base,” Gerstner said. “In the beginning there, first or second batter, she took a hard shot right off her ankle … but she immediately was like ‘I’m good, I’m ready to go.’”
In the top of the fifth, with the Gladiators up 5-0, sophomore Gina Netreba came on in relief. She proceeded to pitch a 1-2-3 inning and set the table for a walk-off for the team in the bottom half of the frame.
Netreba contributed a single that plated two runs as part of a 5-run outburst that sealed the 10-run victory.
The game between the Gladiators and Lightning ended up being the only Howard County softball contest played Friday, with the other five being postponed due to unplayable field conditions. Heavy rains moved through the area right before game time, leaving most venues under water.
While there were muddy conditions at Glenelg as well, Gerstner said his girls were so itching to get the season started that they pitched in a helping hand.
“We got down here at 2:30 and it was raining, but the girls were like ‘we’re playing, we’re playing.’ They helped do some raking and then four bags of quick dry later, we got it in,” Gerstner said. “It felt really good to just get out and play a game. I think they were all ready to be done fielding ground balls on the gym floor.”
Glenelg 10, Long Reach 0 (5 inn.)
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LR 000 00 0-1-4
G 104 05 10-7-0