COLLEGE PARK -- To find a way to end the impressive streak the Sherwood softball team has enjoyed — two straight perfect seasons and a game away from another — Chesapeake-AA knew its margin of error would have to be close to none in Saturday's Class 4A state championship game.
It's an awful lot to ask when going up against a hard-hitting team that has quality pitching, sound defense and the confidence of winning 61 straight games.
Simply put, it was too much to ask of the No. 4 Cougars.
Sherwood pounded out 15 hits, got another stellar pitching performance from senior Meggie Dejter and made sure to pounce on every Chesapeake mistake to come away with a 12-1 win that ended in six innings due to the 10-run rule.
The Warriors (20-0) from Montogmery County closed out their third straight perfect season and won their third straight 4A title. Dejter allowed three hits with the Cougars' run coming unearned, and Kelly Bouma led the offense with a two-run home run and RBI single.
Leading 4-1, the Warriors plated five runs in the fifth inning and added three more in the seventh to seal their 62nd straight victory.
The Cougars (17-7), who have captured seven state titles with the last coming in 2008, were able to get out of the East region with a two-run win and two one-run wins against tough Anne Arundel teams. They beat Montgomery Blair in the state semifinal to make their third title game in four years.
"It's just unbelievable getting here, especially because a lot of people doubted that we could. So just getting here, I'm really proud of the team," senior outfielder Danielle Myers said. "Sherwood is a great club — going undefeated three years — they're just really good. They jumped on us at the beginning [with a run in the first inning] and, at first, we were like: 'It's just one run.' But then they really started pounding on us."
Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger said he saw his Cougars make uncharacteristic errors, seven in all.
The Warriors took advantage of a Chesapeake error to score three times — Addie Armbruster's triple driving in two — to take a 4-0 lead. In the five-run fifth, they pounded out seven hits and were helped by three more Cougar errors. It was more of the same in the sixth.
"They always keep their cool and I think that's the biggest thing," Sherwood coach Ashley Barber-Strunk said. "And when there is pressure, they don't feel the pressure until they're in the situation. ... We did not think we would do what we did today, but they went in confident and secure."
Ellenberger was proud of his Cougars for making it to the season's last day. Next year, they'll return six starters, including junior pitcher Emily Muller.
“Any time you get here it’s unbelievable,” he said. “And I’ve said it a couple times that it’s an honor just getting here and getting through Anne Arundel County. I just wished we would have represented a little better. But Sherwood is definitely the class of 4A and they put a hurting on us pretty bad.”
Class 4A final
(at University of Maryland)
Sherwood 12, 4 Chesapeake-AA 1
S -- 1 3 0 0 5 3 -- 12 15 1
C – 0 0 1 0 0 0 -- 1 3 7
Dejter and Harrison; Muller and Sutton.
2B: S -- Bidwick 2, Bina. 3B: S – Armbruster. HR: S -- Bouma