Maybe it was Glen Burnie’s “Spring, fall, Wynter, summer!” chant, intensified as the moment called, or their rendition of “Happy Birthday,” despite the fact that her birthday was two months away, that motivated Wynter Radcliffe as she hit with the bases loaded.
On a one-one count, as the blustering dust settled, Radcliffe cracked a double that drove Rosemarie Weidenhof and Shaianne Turner home.
It was the first time the Gophers had managed to plate someone without also suffering a third out simultaneously. And, thanks to Radcliffe, it was only the beginning.
Glen Burnie surged in the bottom of the sixth inning to transform a shutout loss into victory and defeated Arundel, 7-3, on Monday and extended the Gophers’ winning streak to eight.
“I feel like we got motivated by each other’s energy,” Radcliffe said. “We knew we wanted to win, so we just put our mind to it. All of our energies coming together made it all happen.”
The bottom half of the order charged the Gophers’ (10-1) comeback bid. Radcliffe (two RBIs) and left fielder Nicole Newcomer (RBI) each went 2 for 3 and Holly Soto also drove in two runs
“It’s the way the team’s been going all year,” Glen Burnie coach Dave Sauble said. “Somebody’s always picking somebody else up when somebody else isn’t doing the job.”
Glen Burnie could sigh in relief as Radcliffe, who went the distance, struck out three and gave up seven hits, tossed the third out to first base in the top of the first, preventing one, or even two, Wildcats runners from scoring. That relief, though, would blow away with the gusts soon.
Or, really, it flew off on Savannah Brooks’ bat. In the top of the second, the freshman blasted the third pitch she saw over the left-field fence, her first varsity home run.
“Sierra Williams has had several home runs this year and she’s a freshman,” Wildcats coach Lisa Mills said. “It is really nice to see. It really lifts the team up. It’s certainly nice for the future to come as well.”
Radcliffe corralled Brooks (2 for 3) the next time she came around, feeding her a pop up to third base. But that didn’t stop Arundel from padding its score while it could.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, sophomore catcher Sam Cinotti (2 for 3) roped an RBI double to right field, scoring Brooke Beall.
The Gophers, however, had not seemed to find the same strokes of luck that had the Wildcats (6-6) ambling off to victory. They’d already left four runners in scoring position by the bottom of the fifth and lost out on a potential run as pinch-runner Mikala Conley took a risk and lost as Cinotti tagged her out at home.
That feeling seemed to deepen as Brooks, on her third appearance, belted her second solo shot over center field.
“[Radcliffe] just knows what she can get away with and what she can’t,” Sauble said. “She knows she missed in the middle of the plate with that girl, twice.”
But as long as the gap didn’t feel too big to the Glen Burnie, it wasn’t.
“I congratulate her for getting those two hits,” Radcliffe said, “but I feel like the comeback made us not worry as much [about it].”
For one thing, they kept egging one another on with rhymes, cheers and even the alphabet song that carried the same enthusiasm as if it was they who were up 3-0.
Wildcats pitcher Madison Gentry, who went 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and gave up nine hits, loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with a walk and two hits, priming Radcliffe to bat in her two runs, Soto to hit in another two to take the lead and Newcomer to increase the lead with a single.
Even as Arundel recorded its first out after all of that, Glen Burnie kept singing, “We want more,” and more they got. Gia Dickey slapped a double to put two runners in scoring position and Weidenhof made her effort worth it with a two-run double.
“It shows that we’re all a team,” Radcliffe said, “and it’s all a team effort, that not one person isn’t working hard.”
Arundel wasn’t quite done yet. An error placed Gentry on first in the top of the seventh, and if Beall had been able to tap her bunt well enough, it might’ve secured one, if not both, runners on the bags.
Instead, the bunt hopped into catcher Brooke McCormick’s glove. Spotting Gentry speeding back to first base, McCormick whipped the ball to Weidenhof, who turned the double play.
It was defense that had anchored Glen Burnie toward the end of the game. Earlier, in the sixth, Dickey wheeled toward the foul line in right field, stretched out her arm and made the unlikely catch. Right afterward, Weidenhof raced to the fence to grab an out pressed against the fence in foul territory.
“It makes you feel relaxed,” Radcliffe said. “I perform better knowing I have a strong field behind me.”
As the loss drops Arundel to .500, Mills said she’ll reevaluate a few things going forward, like switching out pitchers sooner.
Part of it, though, is just the limitations of youth.
“They’re young,” Mills said. “I don’t know if a little bit is not being in these situations before, feeling some pressure, a little tight. I think we’ve shown we can compete with anyone in the county. We just have to play seven complete innings.”