Reservoir, refusing to let Paugh continue her onslaught, decided to intentionally walk her in each of her ensuing five plate appearances that day.

"I've coached against a lot of really great players, many that went off and played high-level college ball, and I've never seen anything like that," Rice said. "We are talking three absolute bombs. When she is in the zone, there is nobody better and she showed that in that game."

As a pitcher, Paugh finished with an 11-2 record while striking out 98 and walking 26. While a lot of her success was the result of hard work, she also was incredibly quick to credit the relationship she has with long-time catcher and best-friend, Alli Jakubek.

"Alli actually has been my catcher for 10 years, ever since we started playing together," Paugh said. "It's really awesome that we got to continue this into high school, and I just felt so comfortable with her. She's been my catcher, and in my heart she always will be. I was always confident with her and I knew we could get the job done together.

"She really helped motivate me and she deserves a lot of credit."

Paugh is slated to play for Hood College next spring, and Rice says he expects her to only build on the success she's had to date.

"I think she is going to do really well at Hood College because she has the right personality and mentality to succeed at the next level," Rice said. "She has the tools and has the drive as well."

Named to the all-county first team are:


Maddie Bennett, Mt. Hebron. A junior that made up half of the Vikings' shutdown pitching duo, Bennett made great strides this spring after making second-team all county in 2013. With a nearly identical number of innings pitched, she managed to improve her numbers in every single pitching category. She cut her walks in half — allowing only eight on the season — while also upping her strikeout numbers from 57 to 78. All of that led to the county's second-best ERA (1.21).

"Maddie has pinpoint control and can throw in that curveball or screwball wherever she wants it," Mt. Hebron coach Chuck Struhar said. "She has really worked at her craft and takes great pride in not walking people."

Bennett had plenty of standout games for a Mt. Hebron team that made it to the state semifinals, but right up there at the top of the list was a playoff win over Centennial where she struck out 13 batters in a 7-2 victory. She allowed just one base runner over the final six innings. At the plate on the season, Bennett hit for a .420 average and had nine extra-base hits.

Alex Herschman, Atholton. A repeat first-team selection, Herschman was once again the workhorse for a Raiders' team that finished in the top half of the county standings. She pitched 117 innings, third most among county pitchers, and still managed to decrease her ERA from a season ago from 1.49 down to 1.37.

"She kept us in every single game. All the games against the top teams we were in because of her," Atholton coach Bob Baxter said. "She's one of those pitchers that won't blow you away with velocity, but has such great movement and location. She's a true competitor."

Herschman also was a top-of-the-order batter for the Raiders that hit for a .340 average and scored 11 runs. She will play for McDaniel College next year.

Courtney Merson, Howard. A ground-ball pitcher who finished with a perfect 8-0 record, Merson combined with Kayli Paugh to give the county-champion Lions a dynamic duo in the circle. She finished the season allowing just 34 hits, which is the fewest by any county pitcher that threw at least 60 innings, and had an ERA of 1.63.

But what made Merson, a second-team all-county player a year ago, so valuable was her versatility. When she wasn't pitching, she was a gold-glove caliber first baseman and at the plate she hit for a .471 average, smacked seven extra-base hits and scored 22 runs.

"Her versatility and ability to excel in every area was just unbelievable. In my opinion, not only was she an all-county pitcher, but she was the best defensive first baseman in the county," Howard coach Chuck Rice said. "I think the big thing for Courtney was that she had a great summer with her select team at nationals and that carried over. She did everything we asked of her and more."

Merson will play at the University of Mary Washington.