Patterson Mill won its first state softball championship Friday and completed a perfect season.
The Huskies (22-0) beat Allegany, 4-1, for the Class 1A title at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie.
Junior Madison Knight secured the win, striking out 14. She allowed eight hits and one walk, but just the one run, while the Huskies committed one error.
Knight, a Syracuse commit, outdueled Allegany senior Kyra Pittman, a Maryland commit.
“This feels awesome to me right now. This team has worked so hard all season,” Knight said. “Working through COVID and everything, it just shows so much that this team, like the work ethic, passion, everything. I’m just super, super happy and super, super excited to say I’m a state champion right now.”
Knight (2-2) also produced offensively, driving in the game’s first run in the first inning. Maddie Buher reached on a passed ball after striking out, and another passed ball allowed Buher to move to second. Knight hit a double off the fence in right-center field to score Buher.
“I knew I had great pitcher pitching against me, and I knew she was gonna throw me anything she could to try to get me out,” Knight said. “Once it got 1-1, I knew she was going to try to get another strike on me, and it happened to be that changeup. I waited on it and I took it to right.”
Knight and her teammates held the 1-0 lead into the third inning before the Campers (13-1) drew even.
Katie Sterne, who was 2-for-2 with a walk, reached base with a one-out bunt single. Two batters later, Pittman hit a double off the fence in center to score Sterne.
The Campers had a runner on base in every inning, including the fourth with the game still tied at 1. Knight struck out a batter in every inning, but in the fourth it was her battery mate, Buher, who shined.
Ryley Gallagher led off with a single. With Ryland Kienhofer at the plate, Gallagher tried to steal second, but Buher, one of five seniors, fired a strike to shortstop Dakota Pitts to cut down Gallagher.
Knight then struck out Kienhofer, but Skyler Porter continued the inning with a single. Buher picked her off first to end the inning.
“When she [Porter] took her first lead, I was thinking, I should have thrown down, but I knew that if she did the same thing, I wasn’t going to let that go again and I knew I was going to get her,” Buher said. “Ella [Laurentius] had a fantastic tag and so did Dakota [Pitts] at second, so we just sealed that inning.”
The Huskies also had a runner on base in every inning. In the fifth, they had many during the game-winning rally.
It started with Marloe Stump drawing a leadoff walk, and she was replaced on the bases by Kaylyn Pulket. Allie Cichocki put down a bunt that went for a single when Campers catcher Gallagher and third baseman Kylee Hook came together trying to field the ball.
Buher then tried to bunt, but her attempt was popped up and caught by Gallagher. She tried to double-up Cichocki at first, but her throw tipped off first baseman Savanna Roach’s glove and into right field.
Pulket and Cichocki both moved up a base, setting the table for Knight. Knight saw two pitches, both balls, before Allegany intentionally walked her to load the bases with one out.
Pitts, a senior, stepped in and hit a pop fly. The ball landed in the dirt, but with the Allegany infield playing in, the infield fly rule was appropriately not called. Pulket raced home with the go-ahead run and the bases remained loaded.
Caroline Michaels added an RBI single before Tara Caprinolo (2-3) hit a pop-up that was ruled an infield fly.
Pittman, however, dropped the ball, allowing the runners to advance at their own risk. The aggressive Huskies did just that.
Knight raced home with the inning’s third run and a 4-1 lead.
“I think everybody played a lot more loose after that,” Knight said.
That included Knight, who gave up a two-out single in the sixth and a one-out single in the seventh. Five of the final six outs were strikeouts.
“That’s what happens in softball and baseball, that’s why they play a lot of games where you have an inning where everything just seems to go wrong. Everything just seemed to go wrong that inning,” Campers coach Brian Miller said. “But you got to give them credit, too, because they’re going up against a really good pitcher and they’re getting her in play.”
Pittman finished with eight strikeouts and three walks. She allowed seven hits, and the Campers made two errors.
“It feels surreal, honestly, especially after the year we had last year with getting cut short,” Buher said. “I knew this year we had to come out hard and aggressive with everything. One thing that Coach Jeff [Horton] always said was, perfection can be poisonous, but we kind of just broke that stamina and we were able to break through it and we had a perfect season. To think about that is insane.”