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Marriotts Ridge center fielder Makenzie Hockensmith talks about the Mustangs' win over Atholton, Tuesday, April 21. (Brent Kennedy/Baltimore Sun Media Group video)

What started as a pitcher's duel Tuesday between Marriotts Ridge and Atholton, finished as an old-fashioned slugfest. And, in the end, it was the Mustangs' offense that delivered just a few more big hits.

Sending 12 batters to the plate in the top of the eighth inning, Marriotts Ridge racked up six hits and seven runs to provide just enough cushion to ultimately hold off a final comeback attempt by Atholton and earn an 11-7 win.

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"I think both teams showed a lot of heart, a really hard fought game until the very end," Marriotts Ridge coach Karyn Curley said. "Both teams put the ball in play and made things happen, especially those last couple innings. There were definitely some things that went our way in the eighth inning, but the biggest thing was that we finally started to put the bat on the ball."

The first six innings were all about the pitchers. Romy Lindahl for Marriotts Ridge (5-4, 5-6) and Patty Drumheller for Atholton (4-4, 4-6) kept the opposing hitters off balance and combined for a handful of strong innings. Each pitcher finished the game with seven strikeouts.

But as the game reached the latter stages, the bats heated up for both squads.

Marriotts Ridge had itself a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but Atholton dug down and answered with a pair of runs to force extra innings. Amanda Petersen and Bethy Medina each had singles in the inning and eventually came around to score.

The Raiders even had a chance to complete the comeback in the seventh, getting runners on second and third with two outs, but Lindahl got out of things with a strikeout.

In a new game in the top of the eighth, starting with a runner on second under the international tie breaker rules, Marriotts Ridge wasted little time getting back in front. Lauren Biro led off with a double that scored Mikayla Barnard to start a rally that saw six of the team's first seven batters in the inning get a base hit.

"They had a good pitcher and her change up definitely got us early in the game. But the more times we saw her, we were able to adjust a little more," Curley said. "In ITB, we made every at bat count."

Marriotts Ridge ended up scoring seven times in the eighth to take an 11-4 lead. Biro, Molly Meininger, Jordan Stepke, Lindahl, Makenzie Hockensmith and Anna Geier all picked up RBI.

But Atholton wasn't done fighting. After Allison Orlosky singled to put two runners on base, Petersen came up and ripped her first home run of the season over the fence in left field to make it a four-run game.

Medina and Caitlyn Burmester then delivered singles, followed by a walk by Jenny Mathews, to bring Danielle Dolbow to the plate as the tying run.

"We have a lot of inexperience, but we have a lot of girls that care, work hard and never put their heads down," Atholton coach Bob Baxter said. "I tell the girls all the time, just put the ball in play and something can happen. We really did a great job of that late in the game and I'm really proud of my group for fighting and making it an interesting game."

With the game hanging in the balance, though, Hockensmith came through as a hero.

Dolbow laced a line-drive to the right-centerfield gap, but the Mustangs' centerfielder sprinted over and made a diving catch to record the final out.

"Coach always says don't worry about the runners on base with two outs, so even though they had the bases loaded, we just had to get that last out," Hockensmith said. "I saw the ball hit to the gap, so I ran to it as fast as I could and when it was dropping I decided I was just going to go for it. I ended up with the ball somehow and we got the win."

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The victory is the fourth in the last five games for Marriotts Ridge, which is now once again above .500 in county play. Hockensmith and Lindahl both finished with three-hit days to pace the Mustangs' offense.

On the other side, Atholton falls to .500 in league play. For Baxter, though, there were lots of positives to take away even in defeat.

The Raiders' coach had particularly high praise for his catcher Petersen, who made several key defensive putouts and also finished the day , and for his pitcher Drumheller.

"Patty Drumheller, a freshman pitching varsity, never got rattled today. She's very mature for her age and I think the other girls feed off her energy," Baxter said. "Even in the top of the eighth inning there when they were getting a lot of hits, she stayed in it. There was that mentality today that the game was never over and I think that started with her."

Marriotts Ridge 11, Atholton 7 (8 innings)

123 456 78      R-H-E

MR      101 010 17      11-16-3

A         011 000 23      7-13-3

Other scores:

River Hill 14, Centennial 0 (5 innings)

Sabrina Curtiss threw a three-hit, complete-game shutout while striking out 10 batters to lead the Hawks.

"Her pitches were really moving and she kept Centennial's hitters off balance all game," River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum said.

River Hill got going with three runs in the first, as Courtney Colosimo and Sara Mascone had back-to-back singles before Kinsey Johnson smacked an RBI double. Kristy Selby and Kallan Dirmeyer later added RBI of their own in the inning.

The Hawks added seven more in the second. This time, Mary Ellen Tokar got a one-out single, followed by a walk by Colosimo. Mascone then had an RBI single down the third-base line. A single by Johnson loaded the bases for Kristy Selby, who proceeded to launch a grand slam over the right-field fence.

Also in the second inning, Curtiss had an RBI double to score Dirmeyer and Jalyn Cox had an RBI single to score pinch-runner Aarthi Ambrosi.

River Hill capped its scoring in the fourth inning with another four runs. The RBI came from a Johnson single, a Janine Abate walk, a Dirmeyer single and a Curtiss single.

Centennial's highlights included a 1-2 day from Jordan Burk with a stolen base and a 1-2 day from Celina Jensen, who also made a highlight-reel catch at third base.

123 45             R-H-E

C         000 00             0-3-2

RH      370 4x             14-14-0

Glenelg 11, Long Reach 1

The Gladiators scored nine runs in the first four innings and cruised the rest of the way.

Anna Turvin got the win in the circle, giving up just one run and allowing three hits while striking out four in six innings of work.

Glenelg's Katie Dustin had one of the game's biggest highlights with a 3-RBI double as part of a 5-run third inning. Allison Wilcox also had a 2-RBI home run in the fourth inning.

123 456           R-H-E

G         025 202           11-13-1

LR       000 010           1-3-5

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Mt. Hebron 19, Hammond 0

The Vikings' bats were hot from the very start against the Golden Bears, scoring 18 runs in the first three innings. Maddie Bennett was a star at pitcher (complete-game shutout with 10 strikeouts) and at the plate (home run and two doubles), Rylee Kinsella hit for the cycle and Evvie Buehlman added a home run of her own. Caroline Smith also had a big day for the Vikings by going 4-4 and throwing out a runner at home, while Kamden Lloyd had three hits including a double.

"The girls have been working very hard at trying to hit with more authority and it seems to be working," Mt. Hebron coach Chuck Struhar said. "Hitting is contagious and once we started off the game hitting, it just kept going throughout the whole lineup."

Offensively for Hammond, Bethany Hewit, Emily Dowdall, Becky Straub, Sophie Baldwin and Samantha Mesol all had singles.

123 45             R-H-E

MH     819 01             19-21-0

Ha       000 00             0-5-3

Howard 12, Oakland Mills 2

The Lions got a strong pitching performance from Katie Unkle, who allowed just two hits and struck out two, and then a balanced offensive effort to beat the Scorpions.

Kayla Devin finished with three hits and three RBI, Brittany Bryson had three hits (double) and an RBI, and Rachel Oliver had a pair of hits and three RBI for the Lions.

Other RBIs for Howard came from Katelyn Penix (double, 2 RBI), Unkle, Steph Yarrish and Natalie Capone.

123 45             R-H-E

OM     002 00             2-2-0

Ho       040 53             12-13-2

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