Hammond scores seven times in seventh, but Atholton softball hangs on for 10-8 victory in opening-round playoff win
It took holding off a wild Hammond comeback — one that saw the visiting Golden Bears score seven times in the top of the seventh and put the tying run on second base — but Atholton's softball team is moving on in the 3A East playoffs.
The Raiders rode their early offense, one that produced runs in each of the first four innings, on the way to establishing a lead it managed to maintain the rest of the way en route to a 10-8 victory on Thursday afternoon.
"All the credit to Hammond today, they had a nothing-to-lose mentality and fought until the very end, and nearly caught up," Atholton coach Ed Holshue said. "They battled, we imploded a little bit at the end of the game, but I guess you could say we found a way to hang on. Not pretty, but we live to see another day."
Atholton (13-5) advances to face second-seeded Chesapeake-AA, which had a first-round bye, in the second round of Section II of the 3A East region bracket.
Early on, it appeared as though the Raiders might be able to cruise fairly easily through its opening-round match-up. Atholton scored once in the bottom of the first, as Allison Orlosky (3-4) singled and later came around to score on a throwing error, and then twice more in the second when Orlosky delivered a 2-RBI single.
Then the host Raiders tacked on four more runs in the third inning, supported by hits from Miranda Thompson (3-4, triple, 2 runs), Bethy Medina (double), Caitlyn Burmester and Sydnee Ruley. Just like that it was 7-0.
"It's been really important to have our bats stay strong — it's been what has been winning us games," Orlosky said.
Atholton kept its offense rolling in the bottom of the fourth, padding its cushion to 10-0 with an RBI hit from Ruth Glenn and a 2-RBI single from Juliet Nierle.
"We have some kids that can hit, so the attitude is to win every inning, so we can build ourselves a cushion," Holshue said. "We did a good job with that at the beginning of the game today, getting runners on and moving them around."
But just when it seemed like the Raiders would slaughter-rule Hammond, getting the first two outs in the top of the fifth, the Golden Bears found life. Kelly Smith and Bethany Hewitt drew walks to set the stage for Emily Dowdall to deliver a key RBI single to extend the game.
It was the first time all afternoon that Hammond had come through with a big hit with a runner in scoring position, failing to capitalize on its previous five opportunities.
"That's been a common problem for us … timely hitting and not hitting all the way through the order," Hammond coach Brad Speierman said. "We just needed something to get us going, one hit to help us get on the board."
While the Golden Bears' offense pushed one across to keep the team alive, the team's pitcher Brittany Brewer then buckled down to do her part to keep the game going. She allowed just one Atholton base runner combined in the fifth and sixth innings, keeping it a nine-run game going to the top of the seventh.
And that's when the magic happened for Hammond.
Kelly Smith got on with a lead-off single and then Hewitt came up and delivered a deep home run over the fence in left. The sophomore had missed the entire regular season while going through the concussion protocol system and was cleared just before the game to return to the field. Her 2-run shot was her first hit of the year.
Suddenly brimming with confidence, the Golden Bears ended up sending 12 batters to the plate and, following a 2-RBI double by Hewitt, got themselves within two runs with runners on second and third with two outs.
"I think we all kind of knew that it was going to be the end, so we all gave it all and tried to do everything we could to get them on and around," Hewitt said. "It was less about winning, and more about having fun and playing as the team we knew we could be."
Before Hammond could come all the way back, though, Atholton pitcher Patty Drumheller dug down and got the clutch final out with a strikeout to secure the 10-8 victory.
Orlosky said, even as things got tight, the team did its best to stay composed.
"We knew we were ahead by nine going into that inning and that was helpful because we knew that Patty's coming back from an injury … we needed to stay strong behind her, make all the outs and couldn't give any outs away," she said. "So we ended up pulling it out, but it was close."
On the other side, Speierman was thrilled with the resiliency of his group, which features just one senior.
"This group never gives up. They have had bad innings all season, but they always come back out the next inning and have gotten it back together," he said. "It was a shame it was the seventh inning there today because we were really hitting the ball … everyone, not just one or two girls."
The Lightning played one of their best all-around games, cruising to a five-inning victory over the visiting Hawks. Hailey Ramberg went 2-3 with a walk and two home runs. Her second home run was a grand slam and it ended the game.
Another big effort came from Isa Carunungan, who excelled at pitcher (5 innings, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk) and at the plate (3-3, 2 doubles, walk, 5 RBI and 2 runs). Kamryn Walker also added a 2-2 day that included 2 walks and 2 runs scored.
River Hill had grabbed the lead in the top of the first with two runs, but once Long Reach grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second inning the Hawks never managed to tie or take the lead again.
Long Reach advances to face Glenelg in the next round.
123 45 R
RH 201 00 3
LR 130 64 14
Reservoir 15, Centennial 7
The Gators jumped ahead early, capitalizing on a handful of errors by the host Eagles and some timely hitting to grab a lead they ultimately never relinquished. Reservoir scored seven times in the second inning and another four times in the fourth.
Carly Clarke had a huge day at the plate to pace Reservoir, going 4-4 with 4 runs and 3 RBI to go along with a 2-run inside-the-park home run in the sixth to help cushion the team's lead. Emma Bailey (4-5, 3 RBI), Mattie Jones (3-4, 2 runs), Holly Daum (2-3, 2 runs), Emily Lloyd (2-4, 2 runs, double) and Katy Wnuk-Fink (2-5, double) also were leaders offensively for the Gators.
Bailey and Lloyd split the pitching duties for Reservoir, combining to strike out six batters.
Centennial had gotten on the board in the first when Camryn Allen (2-4) came around to score on a Celina Jensen (3-4, run, RBI) single. The team then added two more in the second inning thanks to Gracie Rockefeller and Sam Sterenberg both singling and scoring.
Later in the game, the Eagles got three more runs in the third on singles by both Jensen and Jordan Ciraolo. Sophomore Hanna Haj-Hamad also recorded her first hit on varsity and drove in a run.
Defensively, Centennial picked things up in the later innings to keep itself within striking distance. Camryn Allen and Jensen both made highlight-reel plays, while the team also turned a big double play in the sixth inning to get two runners out that were in scoring position.
With the win, Reservoir advances to face top-seeded Mt. Hebron on Monday.
123 456 7 R-H-E
Re 170 402 1 15-20-4
C 123 100 0 7-10-5
Glenelg 18, Wilde Lake 0 (3A East)
The Gladiators started fast and never slowed down, scoring at least once in every inning on the way to the 5-inning victory.
In the first two innings alone, Glenelg got a 3-run home run from Katie Dustin, a RBI double from Emily Michalski, a RBI single by Amy Stetser, a RBI single from Julia Chamberlain and a 3-run home run from Katie McIntyre. On the day, Stetser racked up 4 RBI on four hits for the Gladiators.
Gabrielle Browne pitched for Glenelg and allowed just one hit in five innings of work – a single by Wilde Lake's Faith Leslie. The Gladiators advance to host Long Reach on Monday.
123 45 R-H-E
WL 000 00 0-1-3
G 761 4x 18-17-0
Marriotts Ridge 15, Winters Mill 5 (2A West)
The Mustangs were in a tie game, 5-5, going into the bottom of the fifth before exploding for 10 runs to end the game. Molly Meininger (3-3, double) delivered the game-ending RBI for Marriotts Ridge, which advances to face South Carroll on Monday.
Molly Nies, Makenzie Hockensmith (triple) and Grace McCoy (double) all went 3-4 at the plate for the Mustangs. Mikayla Barnard also added a triple.
Romy Lindahl earned the victory at pitcher, allowing just seven hits.
123 45 R-H-E
MR 401 0(10) 15-16-3
WM 302 00 5-7-1
South Carroll 16, Oakland Mills 0 (2A West)
Chapelgate 10, Garrison Forest 7 (IAAM B Semifinals)
In a game that saw the lead change hands five times, the Yellowjackets prevailed thanks to some timely hitting and defense to advance to the IAAM B Conference championship game on Friday at 6 p.m. against Maryvale Prep.
Some of the highlights for Chapelgate included a go-ahead RBI single by Melissa Lindauere (2 RBI) to plate Alyssa Sandoval, Lydia Martin driving in 3 runs, Hyeji Cho racking up two RBI on two hits, Tiffany Tharp having two hits and Grace Edwards leading off the game with a double.
Edwards also pitched the complete-game, striking out three and scattering nine hits.