Howard and Hammond softball had to wait a few extra hours on Thursday, sitting around as thunderstorms rolled through the area at game time, but both programs eventually took care of business to secure itself a piece of this year’s county title.
Howard (14-2, 15-5) cruised to a 10-0 victory at home in five innings against Wilde Lake, while Hammond (14-2, 15-4) scored five times in the top of the seventh to pull away for a 13-3 road win over Mt. Hebron. Both teams finish with 14-2 records in league play and will go into the record books as co-champions.
The only question now is whether it will end up being a three-way tie, as River Hill can claim a piece of the championship as well with a victory over Marriotts Ridge in its regular-season finale on Friday.
Opportunistic offense and shutdown defense helped Howard earn a 3-0 victory over Hammond on Wednesday, May 1 to create a three-way tie for first place in the Howard County softball standings with one game left in the regular season.
The county championship for Howard is its second in the last three years, with the team finishing as co-champions in 2017 along with Glenelg. Hammond, meanwhile, has to go back a bit further for its last county title, with this spring serving as the program’s first league championship since 2009.
Against Wilde Lake Thursday, after a two-hour rain and lightning delay, the Lions scored five times in the bottom of the first inning to set the tone. That was more than enough run support for pitcher Samantha Hobert, who allowed just three hits over five innings.
Offensively, Julia Colton and Mary Wagenblast each registered three hits. Paige Eakes and Sophie Morton had 2 RBI apiece. Wagenblast, Morton, Jenna Unkle, Becky Merson and Emily Polimeni all had doubles.
Wilde Lake’s hits came from Morgan Baird (double), Rachel Van Osdel and Macayla Miles.
Hammond also led the entire way in its game against the Vikings, scoring twice in the top of the first inning and then adding four more runs in the second. Taylor Liguori (3 RBI) and Makenzie Brooks each finished with four hits, while Brittany Brewer also reached base four times with three hits and a walk.
Kasey Smith (5 strikeouts in 5 innings) and Brewer combined to handle the pitching duties and limited the Vikings to just six hits.
Howard (14-2, 15-5) — 10, Wilde Lake (2-14, 2-15) — 0
The Gladiators picked up their second straight victory, breaking things open with four runs in the third inning and another three in the fourth. Amy Stetser dominated in the pitching circle, allowing just one hit over six innings and striking out four. She also added a pair of hits and 2 RBI at the plate.
Kathryn Hoffman and Molly Dustin also had strong offensive days for Glenelg with three hits apiece.