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Marriotts Ridge bats lead way to Howard softball tournament title

The bats were alive for Marriotts Ridge on Saturday at the Howard softball spring break tournament.

On its way to victories over Bishop McNamara, 9-5, and Blake, 15-5, the Mustangs pounded out a combined 34 hits and had three different innings between the two games where they sent nine or more batters to the plate. The two wins secured Marriotts Ridge (8-2) the tournament championship.

“I always say team chemistry is a big part of the game and truly believe we have great team chemistry, which really shows in the way we pick each other up and everyone executes their role,” Marriotts Ridge coach Karyn Peksa said. “Everybody played a part in winning the tournament today and that was great to see.”

Megan Hughes, who went a perfect 5-for-5 with 3 RBI in the game two victory over Blake, said the team did a nice job stringing things together.

“I think what worked for us was getting that first hit in an inning, even just a single, and then each person coming up and adding to that,” she said. “No one tried to do too much and that allowed us to get our runners around the bases.”

While Marriotts Ridge swept its two games, host Howard ended up earning a split against the same two opponents. The Lions started the day with a 2-1 loss to Bishop McNamara before regrouping to defeat Blake, 12-6.

Marriotts Ridge 9, Bishop McNamara 5

The Mustangs scored in the bottom of the second to grab the lead and then scored eight more times in the next two frames to grab a lead they never lost the rest of the way.

Emma Meridith plated Marriotts Ridge’s first run with an RBI single in the second and then Alex Lindahl (3-4) delivered a RBI hit as part of a two-run third inning.

But the real damage came in the fourth inning, where Marriotts Ridge sent 10 batters to the plate, put together six hits — including a RBI double from Romy Lindahl — to take a 9-1 lead at the time.

“We can hit the ball … and we have girls who can hit through the entire line-up,” Peksa said. “Just as important, I don’t think we struck out once in the second game, which really puts pressure on the other team.”

That was more than enough for Romy Lindahl on the mound, as she allowed just four hits through the first five innings as Marriotts Ridge built its lead.

Bishop McNamara did find its offensive rhythm late, highlighted by a three-run home run from Taylor Wilson in the seventh inning, but ultimately it was too big of a hole to dig all the way out of. Bailey Wilcox pitched for the Mustangs and finished with 10 strikeouts and was hurt by five errors behind her.

            123 456 7        R-H-E

BM      001 001 3        5-7-5  

MR      012 600 x        9-12-1

Marriotts Ridge 15, Blake 5

Blake took advantage of a couple Mustangs’ errors to grab a 2-0 lead through two innings. After that, though, it was all Marriotts Ridge, as the defense cleaned things up behind Madi Costigan on the bump and the offense caught fire on the way to compiling 22 hits.

“[The girls] stayed up even when we were down those first couple innings,” Peksa said. “We dug a hole but chipped away and then kept at it until we opened it up. Bottom line was that we kept hitting the ball.”

Marriotts Ridge took the lead with a three-run third, as Mikayla Barnard (3-5) did the most damage with a 2-RBI single. After Blake temporarily tied the game with a home run from Nicole Kidwiler in the bottom of the third, the Mustangs got two more in the fourth. This time it was a RBI hit from Hughes that served as the big blow.

The offense kept coming after that, batting around in the fifth on the way to four more runs. Then, after a run in the sixth on a RBI hit from Romy Lindahl, Marriotts Ridge put an exclamation point on the day by sending 10 batters to the plate in the seventh en route to five more runs. Barnard again issued the big blow with a 2-RBI double.

Costigan then closed things out with a clean seventh inning, including her eighth strikeout, to secure the 10-run win.

            123 456 7        R-H-E

MR      003 241 5        15-22-2

B         111 002 0        5-5-2

Bishop McNamara 2, Howard 1

The Mustangs got a dominant pitching performance from freshman Bailey Wilcox and some timely hitting to bounce back from its tournament-opening loss to defeat the host Lions.

Wilcox finished with 12 strikeouts, one earned run allowed and she surrendered just five hits in seven innings to lead the way in a close game throughout.

“That first game, I’m not really sure what team showed up … that wasn’t our team. But I thought we started coming alive in the last inning of our first game [against Marriotts Ridge] and that carried over,” Bishop McNamara coach Angelina Diehlmann said. “Our pitcher responded really well after throwing a lot of pitches the first game and our big hitters did their part as well. I really thought we got better as the day went on.”

Offensively, Bishop McNamara (6-6) struck first in the bottom of the first as Raina Cooper led off with a single, stole a base and then came around to score on a RBI double from Wilcox. Then in the third inning, the Mustangs scored their second run on a RBI single from Taylor Wilson (2-3) that scored Alyssa Case.

Howard threatened several times to break through early, including loading the bases with one out in the third, but Wilcox continually made big pitches in big spots. It wasn’t until the sixth inning, when Emma Braswell (2-3) led off with a double to left center, that the Lions were finally able to break through.

After a wild pitch moved Braswell to third base, Ally Wieman hit a sacrifice fly to plate Howard’s first and only run.

In the final inning, Wilcox notched a couple more strikeouts to close things out.

            123 456 7        R-H-E

Ho       000 001 0        1-6-0

BM      101 000 x        2-7-1

Howard 12, Blake 6

The Lions allowed two runs in the top of the first, but answered quickly with four runs in the bottom of the frame to set the tone for the lopsided victory to close out the tournament.

Shanya Gordon led the game off with a double and Howard’s offense never slowed down after that. Emma Braswell had a huge 3-3 day at the plate against Blake, including a 2-RBI single off the fence in the second inning that helped Howard up its advantage to 6-2 at the time. She then later plated another run with a RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.

“After the first game of the bats just not being there, I thought Shanya really set the tone for us as it allowed the girls to relax and it was just a completely different feel,” Howard coach Chuck Rice said. “I thought four runs was huge in the bottom of the first, especially after allowing those two early, and I thought it just flowed from there.”

Howard tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of a couple Blake errors to go along with a 2-RBI single from Emily Stokes and a double from Gordon.

Becky Merson, meanwhile, did her part at pitcher for the Lions. After allowing two early runs, she settled in to hold Blake scoreless over the next four innings. It wasn’t until Alexia Amick delivered a 3-RBI triple in the sixth that Blake managed to score again as part of what ended up being a four-run frame.

But Merson came back to not allow any runs in the seventh and closed the game with a strikeout to secure the 12-6 victory.

            123 456 7        R

B         200 004 0        6         

Ho       420 141 x        12

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