Mt. Hebron softball pitcher Evvie Buehlman talks about the team's win over river Howard on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
Nursing a one-run lead in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third and the heart of Howard's line-up coming up on Wednesday, Mt. Hebron pitcher Evvie Buehlman had her back against the wall.
She answered, however, exactly how one would expect from a two-time all-county player.
The Vikings junior racked up consecutive strikeouts, giving her nine on the afternoon, to close the door on a 3-2 Mt. Hebron victory over the visiting Lions.
"I think I can dig down deep and get those last outs because I feel like now that I'm a junior I've been through a lot of those similar situations before," Buehlman said. "I just look for my teammates to keep me calm."
Mt. Hebron coach Chuck Struhar said that Buehlman's effort in the circle was her best of the season and it came on a day where she was struggling at the plate (0-3).
"She's a really good hitter and it just wasn't there today offensively, but she never hung her head. She stayed in it mentally all the way through that last inning," Struhar said. "Their second and third hitters coming up with just one out and two in scoring position … amazing effort from her to gut it out and get those strikeouts. It was very impressive.
"She wanted the ball."
While Buehlman was the hero late, Mt. Hebron (6-0, 7-1) had gotten itself into the lead behind early offense from freshman catcher Meghan Holquist (2-RBI double) and a clutch RBI-hit in the bottom of the sixth by sophomore shortstop Rylee Kinsella.
Kinsella's hit that drove in Rachel Cadigan was especially big, as it came after Howard had tied the game at 2-2 on a RBI single by freshman Katie Unkle in the top half of the inning.
"They came up and tied it on a big play and so it was up to us to come back and answer," Struhar said. "Rachel hit a shot to get on and then Rylee did exactly what you would except from someone hitting in the three-hole. And she's been doing that all year."
On the day, Howard (5-2, 7-3) actually out-hit Mt. Hebron 8-5. Shannon Wiley led the charge with a 3-4 day from her leadoff position.
But it was the defense that really kept the Lions in it all afternoon, as the team didn't make any errors after committing five in an 8-1 loss to River Hill on Monday. Throw in a sparkling performance from junior pitcher Jamie Bahrijczuk and Howard coach Chuck Rice said he couldn't have been more proud of his girls.
"Kayla (Devin) playing defensively at short was incredible, just making every play, and Jamie pitched the best game I've ever seen from her," Rice said. "To face a line-up like that and limit them to keep it a one-run game the whole time, that has to give her confidence."
Howard had grabbed the lead early on, with Brittany Bryson getting on with a single in the second inning and later scoring on a wild pitch.
Mt. Hebron, though, answered right back in the bottom half of the second on Holquist's double to dead center that plated Kamden Lloyd and Stephanie Bluhm.
"This is the first really big game she's played … and she absolutely crushed that ball in a big spot," Struhar said of the lone freshman on his roster. "She's going to be a really good softball player."
Both teams buckled down defensively to keep the score the same through the end of the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth, when Howard knotted things up, it was a double by Rachel Oliver that started things and then Unkle drove in the run.
Kinsella's answer put Mt. Hebron back in front and that set up the thrilling final frame.
Howard's Shayna Gordon earned a pinch-hit walk to lead things off and then, after a SAC bunt, moved over to third on a single by Wiley.
Wiley proceeded to immediately steal second base, but Buehlman ultimately shut the door by striking out Steph Yarrish and Berit Batterton.
"It feels really good … I mean we've been battling (Howard) since like forever," said Buehlman, whose Vikings lost both meetings with the Lions last season. "One of my biggest memories was my freshman year when we beat them in the playoffs and we kind of did that for the seniors. It's just kind of been ongoing since then."
On the other side, defending county-champion Howard has now lost two straight. But Rice says the positives far outweigh the negatives in terms of the effort against Mt. Hebron.
"I thought our returners from last year stepped up and led defensively, but it was the freshman that put us over offensively. The girls showed a lot of heart," Rice said. "I believe that this game is going to set the tone for the rest of the year. We know now that we can play with any team."
It was an offensive showcase on Wednesday for the Hawks, who pounded out 12 hits, drew eight walks and scored at least once in every inning. Kinsey Johnson led the offense by going 3-3 with a double, homerun and 5 RBI. Sara Mascone (3-4) and Emily Hazzard (2-2) also had strong afternoons.
Defensively, Kristy Selby (five strikeouts, four hits allowed) pitched well, while Courtney Colosimo (2 putouts in centerfield) and Jalyn Cox (diving play at shortstop in the first inning) also shined.
Carly Clarke had one of the highlights for Reservoir with a triple.
123 45 R-H-E
Re 000 01 1-4-4
RH 166 4x 17-12-1
Atholton 6, Hammond 2
The Raiders picked up their second county victory, capitalizing on a five-run first inning. Junior first baseman Caitlyn Burmester led the team with a 2-3 day at the plate that included a double and 3 RBI, but sophomore Allison Orlosky also shined by going 2-3 with a double and a run scored. Amanda Petersen and Danielle Dolbow added singles.
Patty Drumheller got the win at pitcher.
For Hammond, Becky Straub had her first home run in the top of the second inning. She later added a single in the fourth. Bethany Hewitt went 2-3 with a single, double and an RBI. Freshman Cameren Bruce also added a single in the fourth for her first hit as a varsity player.
123 456 7 R-H-E
Ha 011 000 0 2-7-1
A 510 000 x 6-6-0
Long Reach 10, Oakland Mills 4
Freshman Rachel Jacavage pitched the complete game to earn her first varsity win, which also was the first win of the season for the Lightning. She struck out three and walked just one.
At the plate, Jacavage chipped in with a walk, run and an RBI. Isa Carunungan played shortstop and went 1-3 with a double, 3 RBI, 2 walks and a run scored. Naudiya Hopkins had a single, walk, run and an RBI as well.
For Oakland Mills, De'Asia Winder led the way by going 2-4 with two runs scored.
123 456 7 R
OM 020 002 0 4
LR 900 100 x 10
Marriotts Ridge 13, Centennial 3 (6 inn)
Mikayla Barnard had a terrific outing at pitcher for the Mustangs, striking out seven. She also was responsible for the team's first run in the opening inning when she scored on an RBI double by Isabelle Sala.
Lauren Biro kick started things in the second inning with a triple to right center. Molly Meininger and Jordan Stepke both followed with singles. They would go on to score on a home run to right by Romy Lindahl.
On the game, Marriotts Ridge only left four runners on base.
Jordan Burk led the way with two hits for Centennial, while Josefine Jensen pitched and had five strikeouts.
123 456 R-H-E
MR 140 413 13-13-3
C 100 020 3-3-0
Glenelg 20, Wilde Lake 5 (5 inn)
The Gladiators wasted no time jumping ahead, scoring 10 runs in the first inning, and cruised the rest of the way. In the opening frame, Paige Hoeflich had a pair of RBI singles. Other RBI hits came from Katie Dustin, Breanne Smith, Toni Pritchard and Allison Wilcox.
On the day, Wilcox had three hits and 3 RBI.
Anna Turvin was in control at pitcher for Glenelg, striking out three in four innings of work and not allowing any earned runs.