In a battle of first-place teams with contrasting styles, Mt. Hebron’s power bats prevailed on Friday afternoon against River Hill.
Mt. Hebron senior Alli Bluhm delivered a one-out solo home run over the fence in left-center field in the bottom of the fifth inning to provide what turned out to be the deciding run in a 6-5 Vikings victory. On the day, Mt. Hebron (8-1) had six extra base hits, including two by Bluhm, compared to one for River Hill (7-2).
“Coach (Chuck) Struhar always says hits are contagious and that certainly was the case today because once we got going, everyone was hitting,” Bluhm said. “We have power up and down the line-up and once one person hits we all seem to feed off one another.”
In a rematch of last year’s 3A East regional championship game, that River Hill won, Mt. Hebron indeed got offensive production from all parts of its line-up on Friday to turn the tables.
In fact, in the team’s big third inning that produced four runs, it was back-to-back doubles from the team’s No. 8 and 9 hitters — Sammi Cadigan and Maddie Bennett — that got everything going.
“The fact that Sammi and Maddie are batting eight and nine says all you need to know about our line-up … those two can absolutely pound the ball,” Struhar said. “They hadn’t been really hitting like they usually do lately, so they had to drop down there, but I think they both got a little angry and showed what they can do today.
“I was looking for them to hit the ball hard and they did that, which really turned things over for us.”
Bluhm, who added her own 2-RBI double in that big third inning, said last year’s playoff loss to the Hawks added extra motivation for Mt. Hebron to what was already a big game.
“Last year’s loss was a killer, so we definitely came into this year hoping to get them … we were ready,” Bluhm said.
River Hill may not have hit with much power, but the Hawks certainly did their share of damage against Mt. Hebron pitching.
Right off the bat, in the first inning, the team loaded the bases with one out on a pair of walks and hit batter. But Evvie Buehlman, who finished with nine strikeouts, struck out two batters in a row to escape the jam.
Buehlman couldn’t get out of the second or third innings unscathed, however, with Jalyn Cox scoring in the second and Sara Mascone scoring in the third on an RBI single by Kristy Selby for River Hill.
“We talk all the time about getting on the board first and I thought we did a great job of doing that,” River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum said. “But we also did leave the bases loaded in the first and a couple runners on the next couple innings as well, so those could have been even bigger innings.
“Sometimes, against good hitting teams, those things catch up to you.”
Mt. Hebron’s bats came alive in that third inning, though, to put the Vikings ahead for the first time, 4-2.
Unfazed, River Hill simply stayed the course. The Hawks got another run in the fourth inning on a wild pitch that scored Caroline Hickey (single to center).
Then in the top of the fifth, after Mt. Hebron had added its fifth run on an RBI double by Buehlman that scored Cadigan, River Hill answered to tie the game at 5-5 on a 2-RBI double by Courtney Colosimo.
“I can’t ask for any more than the effort that they gave today … the girls never stopped,” Rosenbaum said.
But, as was the prevailing theme, Mt. Hebron had the answer for every River Hill push. Bluhm’s home run in the bottom of the fifth put the Vikings back up one and provided a lead the team never lost again.
River Hill had runners on first and second in the sixth inning, but Mt. Hebron got out of the jam with a pair of ground outs that forced runners out at third base. Then Buehlman set the side down in order in the seventh to close out the victory.
Heading into spring break, Mt. Hebron finds itself tied for first place with Howard at one loss in county play apiece.
“Today was a very big game … they (River Hill) are very good, ranked No. 4 in the Baltimore Sun, and when you play a good team you want to play up to that level,” Struhar said. “I thought we did today. We came up and did some good things.”
Mt. Hebron 6, River Hill 5
123 456 7 R-H-E
RH 011 120 0 5-9-2
MH 004 110 x 6-9-1
Long Reach 6, Reservoir 5
Isa Carunungan pitched seven solid innings and then delivered the game-winning triple in the bottom of the seventh inning that scored three runs to help the Lightning pull out the victory.
In the decisive seventh inning, Kelsey Widmaier led off with a base hit, followed by Sam Samples reaching on an error. Kayla Widmaier moved the runners over with a grounder to the right side and then Emily Forbus loaded them up with a walk. Carunungan, who finished with four strikeouts and just one walk on the pitching rubber, then delivered the big hit to clear the bases.
Alina Milauskas had her own big day at the plated with a double, home run and two runs scored for Long Reach. Christina Doshim also had a base hit and a run scored.
Caroline Winand (3-4, triple), Monica Lamm (triple) were the offensive leaders for Reservoir, while Emily Wang pitched and struck out nine batters.
123 456 7 R
Re 021 002 0 5
LR 200 100 3 6
Howard 5, Atholton 4
The Lions outlasted the Raiders, scoring in the bottom of the seventh to earn a one-run victory courtesy of a game-winning hit by Berit Batterton (2-4, 2 RBI) that scored Steph Yarrish.
Courtney Merson got the win on the mound, striking out four. At the plate, Howard was led by Batterton, Shannon Wiley (4-4), Yarrish (2-3, 3 runs scored) and Kaylie Paugh (1-3, home run).
For Atholton, Maya Schwartz had multiple hits and a pair of RBI in the losing effort.
123 456 7 R-H-E
A 000 022 0 4-4-1
Ho 100 120 1 5-12-2
Glenelg 6, Marriotts Ridge 4
The Gladiators jumped ahead early with four runs through the first two innings and then held on the rest of the way for the two-run victory.
Gina Netreba and Colleen Regan split the pitching duties, with Netreba picking up the win. Allison Wilcox (2-2, home run, RBI, 2 runs), Breanne Smith (2 hits), and Toni Pritchard (double, RBI) were the offensive leaders for Glenelg.
In the loss, Katie Smith pitched and also delivered two hits at the plate, including a double. Jordan Stepke, Katie O’Boyle and Kelly Hamilton all had RBI for the Mustangs.
123 456 7 R-H-E
MR 010 030 0 4-5-1
G 220 110 x 6-9-2
Centennial 19, Wilde Lake 0
Emily Bowman pitched a perfect game with 10 strikeouts, marking the third straight game striking out double-digit batters. The five other putouts came from Emily Davis, Emily Allen and Bowman.
Camryn Allen (3-4, 4 runs), Jordan Burk (2-2, 4 runs), Emily Allen (3-4, double, 3 RBI) and Emily Davis (2 RBI) led the Eagles’ offense.
123 45 H-R-E
WL 000 00 0-0-6
C 935 2x 19-11-0
Hammond 7, Oakland Mills 3
With the game tied 3-3, the Golden Bears delivered four runs in the seventh inning to pull out the victory on the road. Emily Speierman pitched for Hammond, striking out 10 and allowing just three hits.
At the plate, Speierman went 3-5 (double), Keyuana Griffin had two singles, Amber Ginsburg went 2-3 (double and 2 RBI), and Becky Straub had a 2-RBI double.
123 456 7 R-H-E
Ha 201 000 4 7-10-1
OM 000 210 0 3-3-6
Chapelgate 11, Annapolis Area Christian 6
Big offensive performances from Tiffany Tharp (4 hits), Bethanne Venkatesan (3 hits, 3 RBI) and Phoebe Cleaver (4 RBI) led the way for the Yellowjackets to the victory.
123 456 7 R-H-E
AAC 201 012 0 6-6-4
CCA 200 342 0 11-15-4