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Playoff brackets released for spring sports | Howard County Sports Notebook

The MPSSAA released the spring 2021 playoff brackets on Friday.
The MPSSAA released the spring 2021 playoff brackets on Friday. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

The high school spring sports postseason begins Monday and, for the first time in two years, Howard County spring teams are gearing up for potential playoff runs.

On Friday, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association released the playoff brackets for baseball, softball and boys and girls lacrosse. In total, seven Howard County teams across those four team sports earned No. 1 seeds.

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This season will be the first time spring sports teams compete under the new playoff format, which has eight regions per classification instead of four. The new system makes it possible for two teams from the same county to play against each other in the state championship.


POLL: Each week this spring, we are letting the community help pick a Howard County boys and girls Athlete of the Week. Our staff, after consultation with coaches and receiving nominations, will pick players from each of the spring sports and then let voting decide the rest. To participate, either vote below or click here for the boys poll and/or click here for the girls poll by 11 p.m. Tuesday.

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Opening round games on June 7:

BASEBALL: Winters Mill at Glenelg, 4:30; Oakland Mills at Liberty, 4; Hammond at Reservoir, 5:15; Wilde Lake at Long Reach, 5:15; Manchester Valley at Mt. Hebron, 5:15; Glen Burnie at Howard, 4.

SOFTBALL: Long Reach at Hammond, TBA; Atholton at Wilde Lake, 5:15

GIRLS LACROSSE: Wilde Lake at Oakland Mills, 5; Hammond at Long Reach, 5:15; Howard at Glen Burnie, TBA.

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BOYS LACROSSE: Manchester Valley at Wilde Lake, 5:30; Glen Burnie at Howard, TBA.

Here’s a breakdown of the brackets by each sport:

Girls lacrosse

Three Howard County teams earned the No. 1 seed in their respective regions.

County-champion Glenelg (6-0) has a bye as the top seed in 2A West Region I and is scheduled to play the winner of Oakland Mills and Wilde Lake in the region semifinals. Marriotts Ridge (5-1) is the No. 1 seed in 3A East Region I and is slotted to play Centennial in the region semis. Atholton (4-2) has a bye as the top seed in 3A East Region II and is scheduled to play the winner of Hammond and Long Reach in the region semifinals.

The eight region champions will be re-seeded for the state quarterfinal round. The higher seed will host the quarterfinal games, set for June 14, and semifinal contests on June 16, while the state championship games will be at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore on June 18 and June 19.

2A West Region I: 1. Glenelg; 2. Century; 3. Manchester Valley; 4. Oakland Mills; 5. Wilde Lake; 6. South Carroll; 7. Winters Mill.

3A East Region I: 1. Marriotts Ridge; 2. Westminster; 3. Mt. Hebron; 4. Centennial.

3A East Region II: 1. Atholton; 2. Reservoir; 3. River Hill; 4. Hammond; 5. Long Reach.

4A East Region I: 1. Arundel; 2. Old Mill; 3. North County; 4. Glen Burnie; 5. Howard.

Boys lacrosse

Reservoir (4-2) is the lone Howard County team to receive a No. 1 seed, with the Gators slotted atop 3A East Region II. The Gators will receive a double bye and will play the winner of Atholton and River Hill in the region championship.

Three Howard County teams opted out of participating in the state playoff tournament — Hammond, Long Reach and Oakland Mills.

The eight region champions will be re-seeded for the state quarterfinal round. The higher seed will host the quarterfinal games, set for June 14, and semifinal contests on June 16, while the state championship games will be at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore on June 18 and June 19.

2A West Region I: 1. Century; 2. Glenelg; 3. Wilde Lake; 4. South Carroll; 5. Winters Mill; 6. Manchester Valley.

3A East Region I: 1. Westminster; 2. Marriotts Ridge; 3. Mt. Hebron; 4. Centennial.

3A East Region II: 1. Reservoir; 2. Atholton; 3. River Hill.

4A East Region I: 1. Arundel; 2. Old Mill; 3. North County; 4. Howard; 5. Glen Burnie; 6. Meade.

Softball

County-champion Reservoir (11-0) is the lone Howard County team to receive a No. 1 seed, with the undefeated Gators slotted atop 3A East Region II. Reservoir has a first-round bye and will play the winner of Hammond and Long Reach in the region semifinals.

Three Howard County teams opted out of participating in the state playoff tournament — Centennial, Marriotts Ridge and Oakland Mills.

The eight regional champions in each classification will be re-seeded for the state quarterfinal round. The higher seed will host the quarterfinal games, set for June 14, and semifinal contests on June 16, while the state championship games will be at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie on June 18.

2A West Region I: 1. South Carroll; 2. Glenelg; 3. Century; 4. Francis Scott Key; 5. Liberty; 6. Winters Mill.

3A East Region I: 1. Westminster; 2. Mt. Hebron; 3. Manchester Valley.

3A East Region II: 1. Reservoir; 2. River Hill; 3. Wilde Lake; 4. Hammond; 5. Long Reach; 6. Atholton.

4A East Region I: 1. North County; 2. Howard; 3. Glen Burnie; 4. Old Mill; 5. Arundel.

Baseball

Two Howard County teams earned the No. 1 seed in their respective regions.

County-champion Centennial (10-1) has a bye as the No. 1 seed in 3A East Region I. The Eagles will play the winner of Mt. Hebron and Manchester Valley in the region semifinals. River Hill (9-2) is the top seed in 3A East Region II and will play the winner of Reservoir and Hammond in the region semis.

The eight region champs in each classification will be re-seeded for the state quarterfinal round. The higher seed will host the quarterfinal games, set for June 14, and semifinal contests on June 16, while the state championship games will be at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf on June 18.

2A West Region I: 1. Century; 2. Liberty; 3. Glenelg; 4. South Carroll; 5. Francis Scott Key; 6. Winters Mill; 7. Oakland Mills.

3A East Region I: 1. Centennial; 2. Marriotts Ridge; 3. Westminster; 4. Mt. Hebron; 5. Manchester Valley.

3A East Region II: 1. River Hill; 2. Atholton; 3. Long Reach; 4. Reservoir; 5. Hammond; 6. Wilde Lake.

4A East Region I: 1. North County; 2. Arundel; 3. Old Mill; 4. Howard; 5. Glen Burnie; 6. Meade.

Boys Athlete of Week (May 29): Zach Lafountain, Glenelg baseball

Glenelg baseball freshman Zach Lafountain
Glenelg baseball freshman Zach Lafountain (Photo courtesy of Stacie Stolba)

Lafountain couldn’t have dreamed of a better varsity debut.

In his first game after being pulled up to varsity, the freshman earned a win in relief and had the walk-off hit in extra innings to lead Glenelg to a win over Mt. Hebron on May 25.

When Lafountain entered the game at pitcher, the Gladiators were tied with the Vikings with two outs in the top of the seventh, and Hebron had runners on second and third. The youngster got out of the jam and then allowed only one run in the next two frames, during which a runner is placed on second to start the inning under the new extra-inning rules.

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“It was remarkable. I put him in a tough situation, and he handled himself really well,” said Glenelg coach Steve Tiffany. “What I was most impressed with was how he handled himself. We knew he could pitch and get kids out, and we think he’ll be a good offensive player, but just his poise on the mound and how he handled himself was impressive.”

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Lafountain, who also played quarterback for the Gladiators’ JV football team this spring, allowed one hit and one unearned run in 2 1/3 innings of relief. He also went 2 for 2 at the plate with a double and the game-winning RBI. Two days later, Lafountain allowed only one run and struck out two in 2 1/3 innings in the Gladiators’ win over Howard.

“We’ve always known he was talented, ever since we had him in camp when he was in middle school,” Tiffany said. “We thought he had a chance to be a varsity player at the beginning of the season, but playing football this spring, his arm wasn’t in baseball shape. We thought the best thing for him initially was to play JV, but we knew he’d come up sooner than later.”

Girls Athlete of Week (May 29): Nimrit Ahuja, Howard track and field

Howard High School's Nimrit Ahuja (left) gets a high-five from teammate, Hannah Schwab after winning the Girls 1600 Meter Run. 2021 Howard County outdoor track and field championships Saturday May 29, 2021 at River Hill High School.
Howard High School's Nimrit Ahuja (left) gets a high-five from teammate, Hannah Schwab after winning the Girls 1600 Meter Run. 2021 Howard County outdoor track and field championships Saturday May 29, 2021 at River Hill High School. (Jeffrey F. Bill/Baltimore Sun Media)

Ahuja has consistently improved in her three years at Howard, and she proved that once again during the Howard County outdoor track and field championships on May 29.

The junior was the most outstanding girls performer for the Lions, which won the county title with a record 180 points. Ahuja, who is also a talented cross country runner for Howard, won the mile and two-mile on the same day and ran the last leg of the Lions’ gold-medal winning 4x400-meter relay.

Howard coach Zack Dickerson said Ahuja’s consistent improvement can be attributed to her doing the “little things.”

“She does prehab, stretches to stay injury free, she eats healthy and keeps a running log,” Dickerson said. “She’s fully committed to the sport, and those aren’t things we require. But those are things she does, and they take her to that next level, and that’s paid off this year.”

Just as impressive as her performance, according to Dickerson, is her role as a leader on the talented Howard team.

“She’s taken a big jump as a leader,” he said. “[On Saturday], for example, she was there cheering on the JV athletes during their meet. That’s the type of team culture we want. I think that breeds a winning atmosphere, and she contributes a lot to that team culture.”

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