Given the chance to flex its collective muscles Saturday in a battle between two of the top softball leagues in the state, Howard County’s squads didn’t disappoint.
At the Bachman Sports Complex, in the annual Howard County and Anne Arundel County showcase event, eight of Howard County’s 12 teams earned victories to display the kind of depth from top to bottom that local coaches have been raving about this preseason.
“You know with how good Anne Arundel county traditionally is that you are in for some good competition, but what is astounding this year is how strong Howard County is in softball,” said Centennial coach Kathryn Grimm, whose team edged Southern 6-4. “You go through all 12 teams and there aren’t easy games on the schedule for us. Days like today I think showcase how good our teams really are.”
In addition to Centennial, Howard County picked up victories by Atholton (11-1 over South River), Glenelg (18-5 over Glen Burnie), Hammond (7-0 over North County), Mt. Hebron (11-3 over Broadneck), Oakland Mills (8-6 over Meade), River Hill (12-2 over Arundel) and Wilde Lake (25-3 over Annapolis).
Anne Arundel county’s four victories came from Chesapeake (13-7 over Howard), Northeast (5-2 over Marriotts Ridge), Old Mill (12-11 over Long Reach in nine innings) and Severna Park (6-0 over Reservoir).
The showcase is technically in its third year of existence, but last year the event was rained out. This year, the skies were clear and the sun was out — and the team’s delivered some quality softball.
“It’s always nice for all the Howard County teams to get a look at some teams other than ourselves and see where you stack up,” River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum said. “We weren’t able to get the games in last year here because of the rain and everything, so, although a little cold, this worked out well. Howard County in the past years maybe hasn’t been so high (in the state), but we’re definitely making our way up there.”
Atholton 11, South River 1
The Raiders picked up their second win in as many games, getting a no hitter from pitcher Alex Herschman (10 strikeouts) to lead the way. Herschman also led the team at the plate with a 2-3 day that included a grand slam, a triple, 6 RBI and two runs scored.
It was a day the Atholton junior says she won’t soon forget.
“I have had good games with hitting and pitching before, but never a game where I pitched a no hitter and hit a grandslam homerun,” Herschman said. “But I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team.”
Herschman said all of her pitches were working, including her curves, screws and rises.
Gina D’Asto also had a great day for the Raiders by going 3-3 with 3 runs scored and 3 stolen bases. Maya Schwartz provided more offensive power by hitting a homerun and to go with 2 RBI.
Outfielder Melissa Porras made a spectacular catch in left field in the fifth inning to steal a hit and salvage a no-hit bid.
123 45 R-H-E
SR - 001 00 1-0-5
A - 164 0x 11-7-2
Centennial 6, Southern 4
The Eagles went up early, lost the lead and then prevailed down the stretch behind some strong pitching, defense and timely hitting. Junior Emily Bowman led the effort in the pitching circle, helping the Eagles hold the opposition scoreless over the final three innings.
“One thing we work a lot in practice is making sure we maintain our composure and have mental toughness,” Centennial coach Kathryn Grimm said. “I was proud to see them come out here and finish a game that was really back-and-forth there for awhile. They really rallied well with some hits behind our pitcher.”
Glenelg 18, Glen Burnie 5
The Gladiators jumped all over Glen Burnie in the first two innings, scoring a combined 15 runs, to set the stage for the blowout victory. The leadership and hitting of Leah Allen (3-5, HR, 3R, 3 RBI, 2 SB), Faith Kujawa (2-3, 2B, R), Colleen Regan (1-2, 3 RBI) and Grace Daigle (1-1, 2 SB, 2 R, RBI) carried the team.
Regan was also strong pitching for Glenelg, striking out seven batters while walking only one to pick up her third win in three days.
Although Glen Burnie’s pitching staff struggled early, they were able to get 6 strikeouts and bring back some order later in the game behind A. Gardner on the mound.
123 45 R-H-E
G - 871 02 18-13-2
GB - 002 12 5-8-7
Hammond 7, North County 0
Hammond senior pitcher Samantha Speierman threw an absolute gem on the mound, striking out a career-high 16 batters while allowing just one hit and one walk. Speierman got things started by striking out the side in the first inning and never slowed down.
“My curve ball was working really well today, and my change up … those helped keep them off balance I think,” she said. “It also helped getting a couple runs on the board to work with early on.”
At the plate, the Golden Bears had four different players put together multiple hits on the afternoon. Emily Speierman, Emily Dowdall and Jill Purdy each had two singles, while Katelynn Spingola went 2-3 with a single and a triple.
123 456 7 R-H-E
NC 000 000 0 0-1-4
Ha 110 023 x 7-8-0
Pitching – Ha: S. Speierman and K. Griffin.
NC: A. Cooke and R. Connelly.
Chesapeake 13, Howard 7
The Lions got a big day from freshman Berit Batterton, who had a home run and 4 RBI, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a shaky day in the field. As a team Howard committed 10 errors and in the fourth inning, when Chesapeake surged into the lead, all seven of the runs the Lions surrendered were unearned.
123 456 7 R-H-E
Ho 300 101 2 7-11-10
C 001 750 x 13-13-3
Old Mill 12, Long Reach 11 (9 innings)
Lightning pitcher Isa Carunungan pitched the entire game, striking out four batters, and also came through with three hits at the plate. But ultimately it wasn’t enough to outlast Old Mill in an extra inning game.
Carunungan had two singles, a triple and 3 RBI. Shortstop Alina Milauskas had two singles, two doubles and drove in 3 runs. Centerfielder Madison Basham also added three singles. And Nolena Ard also had a strong day with two singles, a walk and 3 runs scores.
Old Mill, which came back from an early 9-4 deficit to earn the win, was led by three hits and four runs scored by Cluster.
123 456 789 R
LR 070 201 010 11
OM 211 015 011 12
Northeast 5, Marriotts Ridge 2
The Mustangs ended up falling three runs short, but did get two hits apiece from Isabella Sala and Ashlie Muffelotto.
123 456 7 R
MR 000 100 1 2
N 210 011 x 5
Mt. Hebron 11, Broadneck 3
The Vikings bats were alive all afternoon, scoring two runs in the first inning, on a couple hits by Alli Bluhm and Evvi Buehlman, and they never really slowed down the rest of the way. The middle of Mt. Hebron’s line-up (Bluhm, Buehlman, Maddie Bennett and Sammi Cadigan) combined for 10 hits, 2 doubles, a triple and 7 RBI.
“We have kids up and down the line up that hit the ball hard,” Mt. Hebron coach Chuck Struhar said. “Just not a lot of holes in our lineup right now, which is exciting.”
Bluhm had two extra-base hits, including the triple in the first inning that got things going. Cadigan was responsible for breaking the game open in the third inning when she laced a double in the gap that scored three runners and made it 5-0. Cadigan finished with 5 RBI herself on the day.
Defensively, Mt. Hebron was also incredibly strong. Maddie Bennett pitched a complete game, giving up just four hits and one earned run. She also struck out five batters. Behind her, outfielders Aaliyah Montague-Bass (2 RBI double), Evvie Buehlman and Alex Stim made some run-saving plays. Then in the infield, Bluhm and Rachel Cadigan held down the middle while Sammi Cadigan and Erin Vogan (two hits at the plate) took care of the corners.
“Maddie did a great job pitching against a pretty good softball team today,” Struhar said. “And I thought we played good defense behind her today as well … I definitely feel pretty good about this one across the board.”
Mt. Hebron is back in action on Tuesday against Hammond.
123 456 7 R-H-E
B- 000 102 0 3-4-2
MH- 203 312 x 11-14-2
Pitching: MH – Bennett and B. Vogan.
B – Ostrowski and Henson.
2B – A. Bluhm (MH), S. Cadigan (MH), Montague-Bass (MH)
3B – A. Bluhm (MH).
HR – Thompson (B).
Oakland Mills 8, Meade 6
Heidi Larsen led the way for the Scorpions by going 3-4 at the plate, scoring two runs and turning a game-ending double play to seal the victory. There were highlights all over, though, for an Oakland Mills team that overcame some early defensive miscues to earn its first victory of the season.
Riley Boyle hit a two-run double, while Tori Gordon struck out seven and walked only one as the Scorpions’ didn’t allow a single earned run.
123 456 7 R-H-E
OM 023 210 0 8-11-6
M 230 000 1 6-3-6
Severna Park 6, Reservoir 0
Severna Park scored on an inside-the-park home run on the first batter of the game, G. Logan, and never looked back. The Gators reached base on a couple errors, but failed to record a hit.
123 456 7 R-H-E
SP 130 110 0 6-8-2
Re 000 000 0 0-0-2
River Hill 12, Arundel 2 (6 innings)
Sara Mascone continued her torrid start to the season at the plate, going 4-4 with a double, a homerun and 5 RBI, to lead the Hawks to a 10-run victory over Arundel. After leading just 4-2 heading into the fifth inning, River Hill exploded for three runs in the fifth and another five runs in the sixth to end the game.
“We took a little while to get used to the pitcher … but we adjusted and hit a lot of line drives,” coach Marni Rosenbaum said. “Sara Mascone has been crushing the ball these first two games, with another double and a home run today.”
In addition to Mascone, Caroline Hickey went 2-3 with 4 RBI and a bases-clearing triple. Kinsey Johnson also went 3-4 at the plate, with two runs scored and a stolen base. Sabrina Curtiss had the ball on the mound and struck out four batters.
123 456 R-H-E
A 002 000 2-5-1
RH 103 035 12-13-2
Pitching – RH: Curtiss and Mascone
A – Delph, Pittman (6) and Smith
2B: Mascone (RH), Smith (A)
3B: Hickey (RH)
HR: Mascone (RH)
Wilde Lake 25, Annapolis 3
The Wildecats picked up their first win of the season behind a mixture of strong pitching and timely hitting. Rose O’Rourke delivered an outstanding performance on the mound, going 3.1 innings, allowing 0 runs and striking out eight batters.
Wilde Lake’s bats were hot on a cold day, as they pounded out 19 hits. Senior Kourtney Harrison led the way by going 3-6 with a double, home run, 3 runs scored and 6 RBI.
There were other solid performances at the plate as well. Junior Brittany Kuntz was 2-5 with two stolen bases, 3 runs scored and an RBI. Sophomore Hailey Setley was 2-5 with one stolen base, four runs scored and an RBI. O’Rourke got the job done at the plate in addition to her effort in the circle, going 2-2 with two runs scored and 2 RBI.
Three Wildecats also recorded the first hits of their varsity careers. Sophomore Marissa Sciabarra was 2-4 with a stolen base, 3 runs scored and an RBI. Sophomore Amber Love was 2-4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI. And, on her 17th birthday, junior Rachel Rabinowitz was 3-3 with a run scored and 2 RBI.
123 45 R-H-E
WL 4(10)3 71 25-19-1
A 000 03 3-1-9
Pitching: WL – O’Rourke (Olivia Harrison – 4th) and Kourtney Harrison.
A – McMurray and Gilbert.
2B: K. Harrison (WL)
HR: K. Harrison (WL)