Howard freshman outfielder Shanya Gordon talks about her team's win over Reservoir softball on Friday, April 24. (Brent Kennedy, Baltimore Sun Media Group)
It took a few times through the line-up for Howard to figure out Reservoir pitcher Emily Wang on Friday, but once the Lions did, the floodgates opened.
Howard exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and added another in the bottom of the sixth, to break open a 1-1 game and provide the cushion needed to ultimately pull out an 8-4 victory over the visiting Gators.
"I think the big thing for us is getting that first hit, because after that it seems like everyone relaxes," Howard coach Chuck Rice said. "We just had to start putting the ball in play, getting people on base, so we could do a little more situational hitting. You saw it in that (fifth) inning, Shanya (Gordon) gets us started, Steph (Yarrish) follows with a hit, Berit (Batterton) is patient and draws a walk … then we're in business."
In that fifth inning, with the bases loaded, Rachel Oliver delivered the go-ahead blow with a 2-RBI double. Brittany Bryson followed with another RBI hit and, before the end of the inning which saw 10 Lions' batters come to the plate, Katie Unkle added a 2-RBI double of her own.
Gordon, who kicked off the Lions' scoring in the third inning with a solo home run that tied the game at the time, said she could feel the momentum swinging with every Howard hit in the fifth.
"Once we got our first, second hit … we kept hitting them," Gordon said. "Their energy was slowly going down a little bit, putting (us) back at the top."
Reservoir had struck first in the second inning as Breann Smith singled and came around to score. The Gators could have done even more damage in the inning, though, as Anna Bennett and Monica Lamm each delivered doubles in the frame and Sophia Sommerkamp added a single.
Howard pitcher Jamie Bahrijczuk made the pitches she needed to in order to get out of that jam, trusting her defense behind her to make plays.
On the day, Bahrijczuk struck out just two batters, but she also issued just two walks — both in the seventh inning.
"She did very well today and she trusted her defense to make plays … and that's the kind of team we are. We're not a strikeout team, everybody knows that, but Jamie also keeps us in the game by not walking a lot of players," Rice said. "She's shown great poise."
On the other side, Reservoir pitcher Emily Wang was having quite the game herself at the onset. The Gators' senior, who finished with six strikeouts, allowed just four hits through the first four innings.
The only run the Lions' managed the first two times through the line-up was Gordon's solo shot with one-out in the third.
But as Gordon and Yarrish found their way on base in the fifth, the wheels slowly began to fall off for Reservoir. Gators' coach Julie Frisvold said her group lost focus for just a second and that was the opening Howard needed.
"Mentally we didn't keep it together and, in a game like that, it's going to get away from you pretty quickly," she said. "Unfortunately, we had one bad inning and it cost us."
Howard added another run in the bottom of the sixth, with Yarrish singling and coming around to score on an RBI-double by Bryson, to make it 8-1.
Reservoir never quit, however. The Gators loaded the bases with no outs, sandwiching walks by Sommerkamp and Holly Daum around a single by Lamm. Then the top of the line-up drove each of them in, getting sacrifices and an RBI single by Wang to cut the deficit to four, 8-4.
Ultimately, though, the comeback fell short as Bahrijczuk got a game-ending pop out to center field.
"I'm really proud of the girls. They got up there and did what we talked about that last inning: swinging hard, putting the pressure on them and pushing runs across the plate," Frisvold said. "It unfortunately was not enough, but I'm very proud of them for pushing so hard in the seventh inning."
Howard has a quick turnaround, traveling to Glenelg on Saturday for another big match-up in a game scheduled to begin at noon.
The Gladiators fell behind early 2-0, but recovered to score all six of its runs between the fourth and sixth innings and earn the victory.
Toni Pritchard, who singled as part of Glenelg's two-run fourth inning, reached base three times on the day. She also delivered an RBI double in the fifth that gave the Gladiators their first lead.
In the sixth, where Glenelg scored an additional three times, Emily Michalski had a SAC fly to score Breanne Smith and Paige Hoeflich had an RBI single to score Katie Dustin.
At pitcher, Anna Turvin picked up the victory.
Atholton iunior third baseman Miranda Thompson, who went 2-3 with a double and a run scored. Senior outfielder Danielle Dolbow also went 2-3 with a run scored, in addition to making two nice catches.
Freshman pitcher Patty Drumheller went 2-3 before leaving the game with an injury and sophomore shortstop Bethy Medina went 1-3 with a run scored and RBI.
123 456 7 R-H-E
G 000 213 0 6-12-2
A 110 002 0 4-9-1
Mt. Hebron 10, Marriotts Ridge 0 (6 inn)
Maddie Bennett pitched her sixth shutout of the season while striking out nine and added five RBI to lead the way for the Vikings.
Mt. Hebron wasted little time taking the lead, scoring three times in the top of the first. Overall, the team scored at least once in five out of six innings. In the fourth-inning, when the team scored three times, Evvie Buehlman, Rachel Cadigan had singles and Bennett had a double.
On the day, Cadigan had three hits and a walk. Stephanie Bluhm, Rylee Kinsella and Caroline Smith each had two hits. Kinsella, who had an RBI, now has 21 runs driven in on the season.
Lauren Biro had a triple to account for one of three hits on the day for the Mustangs.
123 456 R-H-E
MH 310 321 10-12-0
MR 000 000 0-3-2
River Hill 8, Long Reach 1
The pitching of Sabrina Curtiss (4 strikeouts and 5 hits against) and the Hawks' defense once again set the tone for a convincing River Hill victory. Jalyn Cox and Caroline Hickey made some strong plays on balls up the middle, while Kallan Dirmeyer shined at first base.
The Hawks were led offensively Courtney Colosimo (2 walks, 3 runs), Kinsey Johnson (2-4, double), Kallan Dirmeyer (2-4, double), Curtiss (2-4, double) and Kristy Selby (1-4, double).
123 456 7 R-H-E
RH 101 001 5 8-9-3
LR 000 000 1 1-5-4
Hammond 16, Oakland Mills 4 (5 inn.)
Caroline Goyne and Becky Straub split the pitching duties for the Golden Bears and allowed just a combined five hits.
Offensively, Hammodn had big days from Bethany Hewitt (3-3, 2 doubles, 2 RBI), Natalie Raley (3-4) and Kelly Smith (triple, RBI).
Tekelle Evans (2-3, double), Emily Yarn (double, RBI) and Eugena Jones (2-3) provided the offensive highlights for Oakland Mills.