First-place Howard softball beats Atholton Monday afternoon to increase lead on rest of county to three games

In a season thus far where Howard has beaten teams in a number of a different ways — hitting, pitching and fielding — it seemed only fitting that its game against second-place Atholton on Monday showcased a little bit of everything.

The Lions took advantage of timely offense, including a three-hit day from Shanya Gordon, to go along with strong pitching from Ally Wieman and sparkling defense behind her on the way to a 9-0 victory that keeps the team undefeated in county play (11-0) this spring.

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"It starts with Shanya, honestly, and it's incredible how she is so at ease in the leadoff position. She knows how to get on base and, at the point once she does that, we can make anything happen because we have great hitters from top to bottom," Howard coach Chuck Rice said. "And when we can score some runs, we're giving our pitchers room to relax and that makes a huge difference. We've proven that we aren't a one-dimensional team this year."

Against Atholton (8-3, 8-4), Howard had to showcase some resiliency right out of the gates. The Raiders got things going in the top of the first with a hit from Patty Drumheller (2-3) and walks by Allison Orlosky and Bethy Medina to load the bases with just one out.

But Wieman buckled down to get a strikeout — one of seven on the day — and a groundout to escape the inning without any damage.

"Patty is a player for them … she got them started with that hit and next thing you know we walk a couple girls and the bases are loaded," Rice said. "But credit to Ally for bouncing back and getting out of that, because that set the tone for the game. We settled in after that."

Howard wasted little time grabbing the lead in its half of the first, as Steph Yarrish (2-4, RBI, 2 runs scored) laced a triple to center and then scored right after that on an error to make it 1-0. The Raiders struggled on a couple balls into the outfield in that first frame.

Then, in the second inning, the Lions added another two runs on a two-out 2-RBI single from Gordon off the fence in right field.

"They hit the ball like gangbusters … and if you look at their stats, they've done it all season," Atholton coach Ed Holshue said. "Now, I thought our pitcher (Patty) did a solid job today, but we didn't really back her up, especially early. We made some critical mistakes in the outfield and that put us in a hole."

Gordon, who later was right in the middle of the Lions adding insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings, said she was dialed in all afternoon.

"I was really seeing the ball pretty well today," Gordon said. "It's kind of like a disease, where if one person starts hitting, another person starts hitting and it just keeps going and going and going."

Atholton had more chances to claw itself back into the game, getting runners on base in the third, fourth and sixth innings. Every time, however, Wieman or Howard's defense stepped up.

In the sixth, for example, the Lions erased a lead-off single by Miranda Thompson with a double play on a ball hit to shortstop Emma Braswell.

On the other side, Howard upped its advantage to 4-0 when Braswell hit a SAC fly to score Gordon in the fifth. Then Howard exploded for five runs on five hits, all with two outs, in the sixth.

Lydia Maruschak, Sophia Morton and Braswell all had doubles in the inning. It was Braswell's double with the bases loaded that did the most damage.

Wieman then wrapped things up with a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.

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The victory now puts Howard three games ahead of the field in the county standings with six games left in the regular season.

"Before the season, I knew we had some talent, but I also knew we were young. What's made the difference is that we are really gelling," Rice said. "We have talent one to 12 right now and I can put any person in and they have proven that they can deliver timely plays. At this point, I can even admit that I might have underestimated this group of girls.

"There isn't a lot more right now I could ask of this team."

On the other side, Holshue was disappointed, but also acknowledged that the loss provides an important growth opportunity for his squad that now sits in a tie for second place with Mt. Hebron.

"I'm not happy about losing the game, that's just not in my DNA. But I understand it and we are going to be right back at it tomorrow morning and will get to work," Holshue said. "We don't take anything for granted and we are about to start the second round again of games … I'm not going to allow this thing to make our season go in the other direction."

Howard 9, Atholton 0

123 456 7        R-H-E

A         000 000 0        0-4-3

Ho       120 015 x        9-11-1

Other scores:

Mt. Hebron 21, Hammond 0

The Vikings started fast with nine runs in the first, including a home run by Kieran Davis, and never slowed down on the way to a shutout victory over the Golden Bears.

Evvie Buehlman pitched a complete game, striking out 12 of the 18 batters she faced. She also added a double, 4 RBI and 3 runs scored offensively. Rachel Cadigan and Stephanie Bluhm each scored four times, while Rylee Kinsella had 4 RBI.

Hammond's lone hit on the day was a double by Taylor Liguori in the bottom of the fourth inning.

123 45             R-H-E

MH     952 14             21-15-0

Ha       000 00             0-1-2

River Hill 21, Wilde Lake 1

Delanie Vintz picked up her second win of the season for the Hawks, allowing just one run on three hits. She also added a 3-5 day at the plate.

Other offensive standouts for River Hill were Hannah Brown (2-3), Aarthi Ambrosi (3-6), Delanie Vintz (3-5) and Jalyn Cox (3-4).

Wilde Lake got hits from sophomores Sophia Hilger and Adanya Koger-Hobson, along with senior Avery Haigh. Hilger drove in the lone Wildecats' run in the fourth inning.

123 45             R-H-E

RH      034 0(14)        21-15-0

WL      000 10             1-3-9

Glenelg 10, Reservoir 2

The Gladiators pounded out 11 hits, all from the first five batters in the team's line-up, on the way to winning a game that they never trailed in after scoring twice in the top of the first inning.

Katie McIntyre (3-4, 3 runs, RBI), Katie Dustin (3-4, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 2 runs), Katie Grimm (2-4, 3 runs) and Paige Hoeflich (2-4, triple, run, RBI) were the leaders for Glenelg's offensive attack. The big inning turned out to be a five-run sixth.

Gabrielle Browne pitched for Glenelg, striking out four and scattering eight hits in seven innings.

Carly Clarke had three of those hits for Reservoir, scoring twice and also smacking a triple for her team's only extra-base hit.

123 456 7        R-H-E

G         200 105 2        10-11-2

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Re        001 010 0        2-8-4

Long Reach 9, Centennial 6

Despite getting outhit on the day, the Lightning capitalized on a seven-run third inning and some clutch pitching from Isa Carunungan to pull out the victory. Carunungan issued no walks on the afternoon.

Centennial had grabbed the lead in the first, sparked by a lead-off single from Camryn Allen (2-4, 2 runs, stolen base). Emily Allen later drove her in.

But Long Reach capitalized on some errors and big hits in the third to grab a lead it never lost after that. Rachel Jacavage, Carunungan and Hailey Ramberg all had key singles in the rally.

Centennial did chip away in the fourth by plating three runs. Celina Jensen had a lead-off double to get things going. Morgan Altmann (3-3) also had a big hit for the Eagles in the inning.

Long Reach extended its cushion in the sixth, as Steph Moy (single) and Jacavage (walk) reached base and were driven in by a triple from Carunungan.

Centennial still kept fighting despite the big hole going to the bottom of the seventh and actually brought the tying run to the plate. Grace Rockefeller, Altmann, Camryn Allen and Jensen all had big singles.

Ultimately, though, it wasn't enough to complete the comeback and the Lightning won by three.

"I have to give Isa a tip of the hat — she really pitched well and we found ourselves behind in the count a lot today," Centennial coach Katie Grimm said. "The girls have been really patient at the plate lately, but Isa did a good job of getting two strikes on us quick. Despite the third inning, when we gave up a ton, the girls kept fighting and had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the seventh."

123 456 7        R-H-E

LR       007 002 0        9-6-3

C         100 300 2        6-9-5

Marriotts Ridge 4, Oakland Mills 1

The Mustangs scored all their runs in the fifth inning on the way to the three-run victory over the Scorpions.

Marriotts Ridge ended up with seven hits, including extra-base knocks from Mikayla Barnard (triple), Molly Nies (double) and Romy Lindahl (double).

123 456 7        R-H-E

MR      000 040 0        4-7-2

OM     000 000 1        1-6-0

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