Annapolis Area Christian travels to Chapelgate for a IAAM B Conference softball opening-round playoff game on Monday, May 9.
A Chapelgate program that has made a habit of peaking at the perfect time the last few seasons, got this year's postseason started in grand fashion on Monday afternoon.
The third-seeded Yellowjackets had their offense, pitching and defense all clicking against visiting Annapolis Area Christian en route to a 10-0 six-inning victory in the IAAM B Conference quarterfinals. The team advances to face second-seeded Garrison Forest on Wednesday, with Chapelgate (10-4, 14-7) going for a berth in the conference tournament championship game for the third straight season.
"I'd say it starts with us playing better defense the last three or four games, like today I think we only had one error, and that doesn't leave innings open," said Chapelgate coach John Isaac, whose team has won seven of its last eight games overall. "Batting wise, I think we are deeper than anyone else in the conference in that we go nine deep and most people only go four. We can score runs … and we know we can stick with anybody.
"We've been in double digits (offensively) in all but two games this year."
Chapelgate's offense was certainly clicking against Annapolis Area Christian, pounding out 15 hits and scoring at least once in every inning to back up a masterful performance by Grace Edwards at pitcher.
Edwards ended up striking out 12 of the 20 batters she faced, allowing just one hit and recording four 1-2-3 innings. She set the tone right from the get go, striking out five of the first six Eagles to step to the plate.
"(My pitches were) really working and he was calling the outside, which was really helpful," Edwards said. "So I was just sticking with that, because when it moves, it's really hard to hit."
It was exactly the support the Yellowjackets needed to jumpstart their offense, which had been held to just eight hits by Annapolis Area Christian pitcher Lindsay Wilson in the team's meeting a week earlier — a game Chapelgate won 6-2.
Lydia Martin (3-4, home run, 2 RBI) smacked a RBI double to get Chapelgate on the board in the first, and then the team tacked on four more runs in the second. Bri Garrett and Hyeji Cho (3-4, double, 3 RBI) each had hits that drove in two runs apiece to make the score 5-0.
"We adjusted to her change-up, waiting on it longer, and were able to hit," Isaac said in regards to Wilson. "Once we did that, she wasn't throwing quite as many strikes because she didn't want to just throw it right down the middle anymore. We made some good adjustments."
Edwards ended up having her own 3-4 day at the plate, including a double and a triple, to go with her effort in the pitching circle. Amanda Rickett (2-3, 2 runs) and Tiffant Tharp (2-3, RBI, run) also added multi-hit days to the Yellowjackets' cause.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the score 9-0, Martin led off with a home run over the left fielder's head to seal the slaughter-rule victory.
During the regular season, Chapelgate split its games against Garrison Forest, winning 10-8 in March and losing 10-6 in April. The winner of that game advances to the championship contest, scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. at the Bachman Sports Complex.
"We had bad one inning last time against Garrison and it cost us that second time, but it's alright because we've been the three seed the previous two seasons and gone to the championship game. This year, we would just like to bring home the bowl instead of the plaque," Isaac said.
The Mustangs scored all their runs in the first three innings, taking advantage of a big day from Mikayla Barnard (3-3, double) at the plate and Romy Lindahl (four hits allowed) in the pitching circle.
Grace McCoy also added a double as one of nine overall hits for Marriotts Ridge in the win.
Rachel Jacavage and Sayla Phillips each had doubles for Long Reach in the loss.
The Lions bounced back after suffering their first county loss of the season last Thursday against Mt. Hebron, capitalizing on a nine-run first inning to provide a cushion they rode to an eventual five-inning victory that officially secured this year's county title.
Jamie Bahrijczuk pitched the complete-game for Howard, striking out five, walking none and allowing no extra-base hits. Offensively, Shayna Gordon (2-5, 3-run home run, double), Emma Braswell (4-4, 2 doubles, 5 RBI), Ally Wieman (3-4, double, RBI) and Lydia Maruschak (3-4, double, 2 RBI) all had huge days.
Hammond got big days in the loss from Taylor Liguori (4-4), Emily Dowdall (2-3), Brittany Brewer (2-3) and Sophie Baldwin (2-3). Also, on senior day, senior Sabrina Barkely registered her first hit as a varsity player.
123 45 R-H-E
Ho 911 31 15-19-0
Ha 101 03 5-12-5
Mt. Hebron 11, Atholton 1
In a battle for second place in the county standings, the Vikings scored six times in the bottom of the first and never looked back on the way to the five-inning win. Overall, it is the seventh straight win for Mt. Hebron (11-3, 11-4).
In the big first inning, senior Rachel Veslany (3 hits, 6 RBI) delivered a grand slam to highlight things on senior day. The Vikings added three more in the third inning when Steph Bluhm doubled, Veslany singled, Eliza Munns singled and then Evvie Buehlman doubled.
Overall, Rylee Kinsella had a 4-4 day with two runs scored, while Megan Holquist added three hits of her own.
At pitcher, Buehlman struck out seven and allowed just three hits. Freshman Kieran Davis also shined with a highlight-reel play at first base.
Atholton (12-4, 12-5) got its three hits from Patty Drumheller (two) and Miranda Thompson.
123 45 R-H-E
A 000 10 1-3-1
MH 603 11 11-13-0
Glenelg 15, River Hill 8
In an offensive shootout, the Gladiators ultimately pulled away thanks to a 6-run fifth inning. A three-run double by Katie McIntyre and a RBI double from Gabrielle Browne highlighted the decisive 5th inning.
Overall, the two teams combined for 28 hits. Katie Dustin went a perfect 3-3 for Glenelg, while McIntyre and Katie Grimm scored three times apiece. Kathryn Robertson went 1-2 with a sacrifice fly, a single and a walk.
Browne struck at 10 at pitcher for Glenelg.
River Hill had kept things close with a five-run top of the third to make it 7-5 at the time. A RBI single by Sara Miller, a RBI single by Aarthi Ambrosi and a 2-RBI single by Victoria Koutras sparked the Hawks rally. The Hawks later closed back to within two again, 9-7, with a pair of runs in the fourth thanks to RBI singles from Ambrosi and Koutras.
123 456 7 R-H-E
RH 005 200 1 8-13-1
G 522 060 x 15-15-2
Reservoir 16, Wilde Lake 1
The Gators scored at least once in every inning, spurred on by an offensive attack that finished with 24 hits. Holly Daum and Emma Bailey each had doubles to account for Reservoir's extra-base hits.
Emily Lloyd pitched for Reservoir and allowed just two hits and a single run in the bottom of the first inning.
Wilde Lake had scored that run thanks to Sydney McNamara leading off with a hit and eventually scoring on a bases loaded walk by Avery Haigh. Faith Leslie (1-1) accounted for the Wildecats' other hit.