Reservoir senior pitcher Kylee Gunkel said she has looked forward to games against Howard throughout her career because she knows, in order to give her team a chance, she has to elevate her game.
On Tuesday against the Lions, she reached a level higher than ever before.
Gunkel struck out the side in the first inning to set the tone for an 11-strikeout performance, allowing just two hits over seven innings to lead the way in a 3-0 victory over the defending county champions. It’s the first time Howard has been shut out by a county opponent in the last 10 years.
“It was all about the energy that we had coming in as a team as a whole. We have a lot of respect for our competition. We know how good they are, but we were also confident,” Gunkel said. “And yes, for me, it pushes me that much harder knowing how strong their pitchers are. I knew I was going to have to be at my best.”
With Howard’s pitching duo of senior Sam Hobert and junior Maddie Coleman also throwing well, Gunkel indeed had to have her best stuff. Hobert allowed only one baserunner — a bunt single — in the first three innings before giving way to Coleman, who was hurt by a couple fielding errors behind her on the way to ultimately giving up a run in the fifth and another two in the seventh.
Howard coach Chuck Rice said afterward that the little things get magnified in a pitching duel against a good team like Reservoir (2-0).
“Good teams take advantage of errors, and we made a couple costly mistakes today that cost us. And we talked about that going in, this game was going to be decided by just a couple plays,” he said. “Kylee showed me something today. She’s always had nice movement, but now she’s also added some speed to go along with it. That was an impressive performance.”
With Gunkel dealing, allowing only three baserunners all afternoon, Reservoir just had to get her something to work with.
In the top of the fifth, with the game still tied 0-0, Rhiannon Little did just that by smacking a one-out double to left field. Then, with two outs, Alyssa Kelly made something happen by putting the ball in play just over second base, and when the ball dropped in, it allowed Little to score the go-ahead run.
“We told our players to just do whatever it took to get on base and eventually good things would happen. I loved that the girls kept the fight, were loud the entire time and never stopped putting pressure on them,” Reservoir coach Julie Frisvold said. “It’s hard to string together big hits against pitchers like that, but there are other ways to score runs, and we showed that today.”
Reservoir added some insurance in the top of the seventh when Kelly reached on an infield hit with two outs. Maggie Frisvold then hit a hard shot to left field that was bobbled by the outfielder to plate the team’s second run. Then Courtney Johnson singled to make it 3-0.
“With the way Kylee was pitching, we just really wanted to take the pressure off of her feeling like she needed to be perfect. So those two runs were absolutely huge,” Julie Frisvold said.
In the bottom of the seventh, Gunkel closed things out with another pair of strikeouts.
Other strong overall performances in the victory came from Kayla Ecker (2-for-4) and Clare Andrews (double). Kelly and Little also each made crucial diving catches in the outfield.
Reservoir is back in action on Wednesday at Glenelg, while Howard (0-2) will host Mt. Hebron.
“This win was huge, but tomorrow is just as huge. We have to come right back and continue to produce because the competition in the county is really solid,” Julie Frisvold said. “There are going to be several teams that are going to challenge one another, so it’s up to us to make sure we are mentally prepared for that.”
Reservoir 3, Howard 0
.. 123 456 7 R-H-E
Re 000 010 2 3-8-0
Ho 000 000 0 0-2-2
OTHER SOFTBALL SCORES:
Wilde Lake 12, Glenelg 6
Building on its opening day shutout of Centennial, the Wildecats (2-0) kept the momentum going with another victory over a program it hadn’t beaten in the last decade.
Wilde Lake jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning and never trailed after that. The Gladiators (1-1) did make things interesting, though, by scoring four times in the bottom of the first and again in the fifth to pull within a run. But the Wildecats closed strong by scoring three times in the sixth and another three times in the seventh to pull away for good.
Leadoff hitter Heather McQueeney had a huge day at the plate to lead the offense, going 3-5 with a triple, a home run, 4 RBI, 3 runs scored and a stolen base. Morgan Baird and Lauren Jascewsky also had multi-hit days that included a double. Sophomore Justyce Richard added three RBI.
Glenelg was led by a big day from Jordyn Woodling (3-4, 3 runs) and a two-run home run from Haley Markel.
Wilde Lake has already equaled its county win total from the entire 2019 season.
.. 123 456 7 R-H-E
WL 600 003 3 12-10-4
G 400 010 1 6-7-2
Marriotts Ridge 2, Mt. Hebron 1
The Mustangs (2-0) earned the one-run victory over the Vikings (1-1) thanks to a strong pitching effort from Lauren Tolle, who scattered five hits and struck out five in six innings. Sarah Fan and Ashleigh Gerber led the Marriotts Ridge offense with two hits and an RBI each.
Erin Behel had two hits to pace the Mt. Hebron offense, while Alex Wendt scored on a hit by Emma Behel for the team’s lone run in the sixth inning. Emma Behel also had a strong game at pitcher, striking out eight and giving up just one earned run in six innings.
.. 123 456 7 R-H-E
MH 000 001 0 1-7-0
MR 100 100 x 2-6-1
Long Reach 18, Oakland Mills 0
The Lightning (1-1) picked up their first win behind a combine one-hitter from Amelia Bross and Haiden Saffer in the pitching circle. Bross struck out five batters and allowed just one hit, while Saffer came on in relief in the fourth inning and struck out three while allowing no hits.
Offensively, Long Reach saw big efforts from Sierra Sims (2-4, double, walk), Holly Ryan (2-4, double, walk) and Madison Barrett (2-4).
Olivia Davis (1 strikeout) and Paige Andrews (2 strikeouts) split the pitching duties for Oakland Mills (0-2).
.. 123 45 R-H-E
OM 000 00 0-1-3
LR 754 2x 18-10-1
Mt. Hebron 5, Marriotts Ridge 2
Sam Cohen pitched a complete game for the Vikings (2-0), giving up three hits while striking out seven, to lead the way past the Mustangs (0-2). Offensively, Mt. Hebron made the most of its four hits, with Tyler Goladay leading the way by going 1-4 with a RBI and run scored.
The Vikings scored one in the first, two in the second and added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
Drew Leader went 2-3 to lead the Marriotts Ridge offense, while Graham Houck struck out eight over three innings as the Mustangs’ starter at pitcher.
.. 123 456 7 R-H-E
MH 120 000 2 5-4-2
MR 011 000 0 2-5-3
Glenelg 5, Wilde Lake 0
No. 1 singles: Lukas Zaukalskis, G def. Hughes Charles, WL (8-5)
No. 2 singles: Daniel Danko, G def. Maddox Ciesluk, WL (8-2)
No. 1 doubles: Caleb Taylor and John Mastermann, G def. Desmond Adeyemi and Don Asgedom, WL (8-2)
No. 2 doubles: Mitchell Steinberg and Jack FitzGibbons, G def. Matthew Batmunkh and Noah Begley, WL (8-1)
No. 3 doubles: Will Sloan/Kaushal Jatti (GHS) defeats Darius Lewis and Sovanmonireach EK, WL (8-0)
Marriotts Ridge 4, Mt. Hebron 1
No. 1 singles: Guy Scafidi, MH def. Sai Charan Chopavarapu, MR (8-6)
No. 2 singles: Rafa Feldman, MR def. Jeff Li, MH (8-4)
No. 1 doubles: Alex Wang and Revanth Bairi, MR def. Abishay Reddy and Andrew Lee, MH (8-3)
No. 2 doubles: Shreyas Rath and Pedro Arantes Gabriel, MR def. Mason Doan and Sion Mathew, MH (8-1)
No. 3 doubles: Ethan Berstein and Colin Wang, MR def. Jack Lovas and N/A, MH (8-2)
Glenelg 4, Wilde Lake 1
No. 1 singles: Ava Stamatakis, G def. Sajana Vigna-McLaughlin, WL (8-1)
No. 2 singles: Johanna Shin, WL def. Rukmini Gaddam, G (8-3)
No. 1 doubles: Ally Abruscato and Kousalya Gaddam, G def. Kristina Staussi and Sara Haghigat, WL (8-2)
No. 2 doubles: Arianna Modeli and Kate Kim, G def. Sage Rivarde and Kate Kulesza, WL (8-4)
No. 3 doubles: Kristin Ruehl and Ashley Kim, G def. Lydia Johnson and Madison Hays, WL (8-2)
Marriotts Ridge 3, Mt. Hebron 2
No. 1 singles: Trinetra Vijayakumar, MH def. Anna Ottman, MR (8-1)
No. 2 singles: Gabby Tseytlin, MR def. Julia Kimack, MH (8-2)
No. 1 doubles: Charita Sandoze and Hashini Amarasingae, MR def. Shrinidhi Abbadi and Shavani Varia, MH (8-8; 10-4)
No. 2 doubles: Srinidhi Arumugam and Amrutha Alibilli, MR def. Bonnie Vess and Mira Tadimalla, MH (8-2)
No. 3 doubles: Sophie Kreyling and Harini Devireddy, MH def. Megan Wagner and Varsha Devireddy, MR (8-6)