Glenelg junior Anna Turvin talks about her teams win over Centennial softball on Friday, April 8. (Brent Kennedy and Ulysses Munoz)
After having won its first three county games by 15 or more runs, Glenelg faced a much stiffer test on Friday afternoon against visiting Centennial. And, while the visiting Eagles battled back from a 7-0 deficit to bring the tying run to the plate in the seventh, the Gladiators ultimately answered in the face of adversity.
Getting two straight outs with the bases loaded and the tying run on third, Glenelg held on for a thrilling 9-8 victory that improves the team to 4-0 in Howard County play this spring.
"I think it was a really big win for us because it kind of sets the mood for how we are going to do later against the tougher teams," said Glenelg's Anna Turvin, who got the win at pitcher and delivered a 2-4 day at the plate with 2 RBI. "We have a lot to work on, just (by looking) at that game. But we showed that we can pull through."
In the early stages, it appeared that Glenelg (4-0, 4-3) might have been poised for another runaway victory. Centennial (1-3, 1-4) had put runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the first, but Turvin buckled down and delivered three straight strikeouts to escape the inning unharmed.
The, in the bottom half of the frame, the Gladiators sent nine batters to the plate and put four runs on the board. Katie McIntyre (2-4, home run), Paige Hoeflich (3-4, 3 runs scored), Turvin and Keri Stevens (2-4, 3 RBI) all had hits to help establish the early lead.
"That start was crucial because it gave us confidence and belief that we could to do it. In hindsight, it may have given us a little too much confidence, but that buffer was really important," said Glenelg coach Andrew Shearer, who was filling in for Ray Gerstner as he prepares for the birth of his second child. "The girls were definitely ready to go right from the beginning."
Glenelg didn't stop there, however. The team added two more runs in the second inning, capitalizing on a couple Centennial errors and a clutch RBI hit from Emily Michalski. Then, in the third, McIntyre launched a ball over the fence in right field to make it 7-0.
Centennial, meanwhile, had stranded runners in scoring position each of the first three innings and coach Katie Grimm said it seemed like a hangover from the team's loss to Marriotts Ridge on Wednesday.
"This game was certainly a tale of two parts, with innings one to three being a carry over of what we were doing Wednesday. We weren't executing routine plays on defense, weren't getting the hits we needed with runners on," Grimm said. "You know, the girls had a choice to make today, are we going to come back and battle or are we going to get 10-runned — because those first three innings that's where we were headed.
"The great thing, though, is that this team has a ton of character and they battled back."
Centennial began its comeback push in the fourth with an RBI double by Carrie Strott (4-4, 2 double, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored) and a RBI ground out by Grace Rockefeller to cut the team's deficit to 7-2.
Celina Jensen then buckled down to do her part at pitcher by holding Glenelg without a run in the fourth and fifth innings.
That opened the door for the Eagles to get even closer by plating three more runs in the top of the sixth. This time it was three straight hits to lead off the inning, including doubles by Jensen (2-4, 2 runs, RBI) and Emily Davis (2-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored), that got things going. All three of those runners came around to score.
Glenelg, however, did get what turned out to be key insurance runs in the bottom half of the sixth. Katie Dustin led off with a double, Hoeflich followed with an RBI single and then Stevens ended up driving in the team's ninth run with a single of her own with two outs.
Glenelg ended up switching pitchers before the seventh, bringing in Gabrielle Browne. The change did not deter Centennial, which had Grace Bennett, Emily Allen and Jensen start the frame with back-to-back-to-back doubles. All three ended up coming around to score to make it a one-run game.
The Eagles then took advantage of a couple errors, along with hits from Strott and Rockefeller, to load the bases with one out. But, as was the theme all afternoon, the Gladiators bent but never broke.
Turvin fielded a pair of ground balls at second base, firing home on the first and to first on the second, to halt the rally.
"I think they started to figure us out a little bit and they've seen Anna for a few years now so that third time through they began picking it up. That's why we decided to make a change with Gabrielle in the seventh," Shearer said. "I give the girls credit, though. They stuck with it defensively and made some decent plays at the end there to do what we needed to do to survive."
Afterward, Turvin was excited that the team was able to maintain its current position tied atop the county standings.
"I think we're in a pretty good spot right now and we're a pretty young team, so we need to have more practice. But I think by the end of the season we'll be pretty solid with everything," Turvin said.
On the other side, Grimm was also encouraged by the late-game push from her team. She's hoping the rally at the end is a sign of things to come moving forward.
"We had a ton of momentum going into spring break, but then we take a week off and we just totally fizzled out there. We did come out Wednesday like we needed to and then it took three innings today, to really get over that," Grimm said. "Hopefully now, though, we are heading in the right direction again and have something we can build on."
In a back-and-forth game that featured a couple ties and lead changes, it was the Lions that ultimately prevailed behind a complete-game 12-strikeout performance from pitcher Ally Wieman.
Howard also got big efforts at the plate from Steph Yarrish (3 hits, triple), Rachel Oliver (2 RBI), Emma Braswell (triple) and Katie Unkle (2 hits, RBI).
The Lions' big inning came in the fifth, where the team scored three times to take the lead for good.
Marriotts Ridge, which had taken an early 1-0 lead, had a multi-hit day from Molly Nies and a double from Grace McCoy among its highlights. Mikayla Barnard pitched the complete game and struck out five.
123 456 7 R-H-E
Ho 002 030 0 5-7-0
MR 100 120 0 4-7-3
Reservoir 11, Mt. Hebron 9 (8 innings)
The Gators scored five times in the top of the eighth to break open a 6-6 tie at the time and provide the cushion needed to hand the Vikings their second straight county loss.
Overall, Reservoir had just four hits — two from Carly Clarke (double, 2 runs, 2 RBI), one from Breann Smith (double, run, 3 RBI) and one from Sophie Striegel (run). But the team made the most of those hits, around 12 walks, to get to Mt. Hebron pitcher Evvie Buehlman (8 innings, 10 strikeouts).
Emma Bailey (3 innings, 4 runs allowed, 2 strikeouts and 2 walks) and Emily Lloyd (5 innings, 4 runs allowed and three strikeouts) split the pitching duties for Reservoir.
Mt. Hebron, meanwhile had 11 hits and that included two-hit days from Buehlman (home run), Rachel Cadigan, Rylee Kinsella, Meghan Holquist and Kieran Davis.
The Vikings fall to 2-2 in county and 2-3 overall, while Reservoir improves to 2-2 in county and 2-3 overall.
123 456 78 R-H-E
Re 140 010 05 11-4-7
MH 220 001 13 9-11-2
Atholton 11, Wilde Lake 2
Patty Drumheller notched her fourth win, finishing with eight strikeouts, and she also went 3-4 at the plate with an RBI and 4 stolen bases. Allison Orlosky chipped in with a 2-4 day with 2 RBI, while Bethy Medina stayed red hot at the plate by going 3-5 with 2 RBI. Orlosky, Miranda Thompson and Juliet Nierle each had doubles for the Raiders.
Atholton scored at least once in every inning.
The Wilde Lake offense tacked on a run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, freshman Kasey Baird led off with a hit and then later came around to score on a RBI hit up the middle by sophomore Stella Johnson (her first varsity hit).
Sophomore Hannah Van Osdel also picked up her first varsity hit in the sixth inning, while Faith Leslie had the team's other two hits on the day.
Defensively, sophomore Kayleigh Gladden stood out with five putouts.
123 456 7 R-H-E
WL 000 110 0 2-5-7
A 142 211 x 11-14-0
Long Reach 16, Hammond 3
After a slow start, the Lightning bats exploded in the fourth inning for 12 runs to break open the game en route to the five-inning victory.
Behind hits from Hailey Ramberg, Lindsey Major, Kasey White, Kamryn Walker and Sayla Phillips, Long Reach did score four runs in the second inning to take a 4-1 lead at the time. After that, though, everyone came alive.
Walker ended up finishing 3-4 with a triple, stolen base and 4 RBI. Lindsey Major went 3-3 with 2 runs scored and a stolen base, while Phillips went 2-2 with a walk, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored.
At pitcher, Rachel Jacavage went three innings and struck out two while walking three. Isa Carunungan then came on in relief in the fourth and pitched two innings and struck out one.
For Hammond, Emily Dowdall (double, RBI) Brittany Brewer and Taylor Liguori were the offensive standouts.
123 45 R
Ha 101 10 3
LR 040 (12)x 16
River Hill 12, Oakland Mills 2
The Hawks broke through for their first win of the season, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings and never looking back.
Delanie Vintz struck out five at pitcher for the Hawks, while also going 2-4 with a triple at the plate. Aarthi Ambrosi went 3-4, while Jalyn Cox (2-4), Sara Miller (2-4) and Bianca Brade (2-2) all had multi-hit days as well.
Defensively, Cox made the play of the day with a diving stop at shortstop and then firing out the runner at first. Ambrosi also had a strong day on defense.
Courtney Logon had a double for Oakland Mills.
123 45 R-H-E
OM 020 00 2-4-4
RH 262 02 12-13-1
Maryvale 10, Chapelgate 2
The Yellowjackets fell behind 3-0 in the first and never really recovered. Maryvale had Gina Liberto pitch a complete game and allow just two runs in the fifth inning.
Chapelgate's Lydia Martin (2 hits) was among the offensive stars for the Yellowjackets in the loss.