Warming up for the game against Long Reach Wednesday, Mt. Hebron pitcher Rylee Kinsella felt her off-speed stuff working really well. She knew right away the game plan was to throw as many movement pitches as possible — and the result? A three-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in five innings pitched to help the Vikings clinch their first win of the season.
"I felt confident in my changeup today because warming up every single time I threw it it was really nice and working really well, so I told my catcher throw a lot of those. Throw a lot of screw balls, movement pitches because if we just throw fastballs than they are going to catch up eventually," explained Kinsella after 10-0 win. So we threw a lot of off-speed pitches today and that's what worked."
Mt. Hebron gave Kinsella a 6-0 cushion after the first inning, as the Lightning — coming off a tough 20-7 loss against Glenelg on Monday — struggled in the field early.
Sayla Phillips got the start for Long Reach and allowed the first five runners on with no outs. A throwing error gave Kinsella a base to lead off the top of the first, then Meghan Holquist followed with a single. Phillips hit the next two batters to load the bases and then Eliza Munns drew a walk to earn Mt. Hebron its first run of the game. Maddie Wright stepped up for a sacrifice groundout to add another.
The Vikings got through the lineup with Kinsella (single) and Holquist (walk) getting on base again in the inning before Long Reach coach Melissa Boardman made the change to her ace Rachel Jacavage.
Jacavage got the final out of the inning, on a strikeout, to end the run.
"I think she did great," Boardman said of Jacavage. "I definitely did not want to pitch her today. We play tomorrow, we play Friday and I did not want to pitch her today, but she went in as a captain and as a leader, as she always does, and she did her job. They kept scoring, but she held them to four, so we should have attacked on the bats. Being down six in the first inning shouldn't have affected us, because we should have hit the whole time."
Kinsella settled in for a dominant next couple innings. After giving up two hits in the first, the senior pitched three-straight strikeouts in the second, another 1-2-3 inning — all on ground outs — in the third and added three more strikeouts in the fourth before a quick fifth inning, where she recorded her seventh strikeout of the afternoon.
"It feels really good," Kinsella said. "I think that is the best I've done in awhile so going off of that it really prepares me for Friday and the rest of the games this season."
The Lightning's most productive inning came in the top of the first, with Jacavage and Kamryn Walker both getting on base with one-out singles. However, they couldn't take advantage as two groundouts left them both stranded on second and third.
"It's hard having a squad of 11 with young girls," Boardman said. "We're still learning, but we got to get our bats on the ball and we didn't do that today. I mean Rylee's change up is crazy we all know this. Rylee is an excellent player, but we just couldn't connect with that change up, and we just left base runners on."
"Some people came out and — like Allie Lerman worked so hard in practice and you could see it today. She was ready to fix those mistakes that she made on Monday, and everybody needs to do that. It's like yeah, Monday was definitely rough, but today should have been better. We were definitely in our heads."
Mt. Hebron struggled in its first three games of the season, including a 10-8 loss against River Hill on Monday.
Similar to its game against the Lightning, the Hawks took a large lead early, but the Vikings showed some grit coming back late in the game. The Vikings knew they couldn't let up against Long Reach and have a rally derail their first victory.
"Even though we had the lead, we knew that what happened on Monday when we came back against River Hill that could easily happen to us, so we needed to stay positive, stay focused and keep adding runs on because if we lay back and just roll over than they can easily come back and make it a tie game," Kinsella said. "Our main focus this game was to stay focused, be in the game from the very start and give it our all for all seven innings, so I think that was what was different from Monday."
Mt. Hebron added two more runs in the second inning. Kieran Davis started the inning by crushing a double to deep center field. Ana Mosisa brought her home after an RBI single and Erin Rogers plated Mosisa with an RBI double.
"I told them, you know the first three teams we saw were really good ball clubs and well-hitting ball clubs, and we made some errors," said Vikings coach Mark Graydon. "We went back and we worked on some various aspects of the game, both offensively and defensively. I think that showed out today. They were really good at the plate. They waited and they were selective."
Munns knocked another single in the bottom of the fourth and later scored after a ground out by Mosisa.
Kinsella started the bottom of the fifth with a single and Bree Hoskinson ended the game after hitting a deep shot to centerfield. The Lightning couldn't squeeze the fly ball, which allowed Kinsella to cross home to end the game at 10-0.
"This win was really crucial to our team," Kinsella added. "We have a really young team… We never got a scrimmage in, so it was just us working kinks out and trying to figure out what works best for us and how to communicate on the field. So today we came out with high energy and positive attitudes, because we did not want to have another loss like we did on Monday and it showed in our batting and it showed on the field. This win was amazing for our team."
Kinsella got it done in the circle and at the plate, getting two hits and two runs scored, while Mosisa went 1-for-2 with two runs, a walk and a RBI.
"All in all, I mean Rylee just pitched a phenomenal game. It doesn't get better than that," Graydon added. "We got passed their one-through-four hitters and that was the key, and we didn't have any really bad innings. We really kept the ball down, kept the ball in front of us."
Mt. Hebron is back in action Friday against Hammond, while Long Reach is back at it Thursday, versus River Hill.
Mt. Hebron 10, Long Reach 0
MH (1-3 county, 1-4 overall), LR (1-1, 1-2)
LR — 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
MH — 6 2 0 1 1 10 6 0
2B: MH — Rogers 1.
Around the league:
Reservoir 20, Oakland Mills 3
A big first inning propelled the Gators to their third-straight win Wednesday against the hosting Scorpions.
Hunter Little led Reservoir in a prolific offensive day, going 3-for-4, with three runs and four RBI, while Abby Wang went 2-for-2 with a run and three RBI. Emma Bailey hit 1-of-2 and added two runs and an RBI, Breann Smith went 2-for-2 with four runs and two RBI, while Katy Wnuk-Fink also went 2-for-2 and added three runs and an RBI.
Zoe Smith went 2-for-3 with two runs for Oakland Mills, while Elizabeth Yu went 2-for-3 with a triple and 3 RBI.
The Scorpions are on the road Friday against first-place Marriotts Ridge, while Reservoir is back home April 3 against Atholton.
Re (2-1 county, 3-1 overall), OM (0-4, 0-5)
OM — 1 0 0 2 0 3 3 20
Re — 13 5 1 1 x 20 16 1
Centennial 11, Hammond 7
The Eagles bounced back from their first county loss of the season with an 11-7 victory over the hosting Golden Bears to remain near the top of the county standings.
Centennial got out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning, and added two more runs in the top of the third, but Hammond battled back to get within three.
However, the Eagles offense produced at least a run in each of the last four innings to help hold the lead and clinch the win.
Armonie Lane went 2-for-4 with a single, solo home run and 2 RBI for the Golden Bears, while teammate Bethany Hewitt went 2-for-4 with a single and a two-run home run.
Both teams are on the road Friday in their next outing, with Hammond visiting Mt. Hebron and Centennial taking on Long Reach.
C (3-1 county, 3-2 overall), Ha (3-1, 3-2)
C — 4 0 2 1 2 1 1 11 11 4
Ha — 0 0 3 1 1 2 0 7 9 4
Atholton 14, River Hill 4
The Raiders collected their first win of the season Wednesday, after a convincing 14-4 five-inning victory over the visiting Hawks.
Atholton took an 8-0 lead early, after scoring four runs in the first and second innings. River Hill cut into the advantage in the top of the third, but the Raiders responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning to go up, 13-3.
The Hawks scored a run in the fifth, but Atholton ended the game in the bottom of the inning, adding one more run to notch the 10-run win.
Bethy Medina hit two doubles in the game for Atholton, while Jenna Kenyon also had a two-base hit for River Hill.
Both teams are back in action Friday, with River Hill hosting Long Reach and Atholton hosting Howard for 4 p.m. games.
A (1-3 county, 1-4 overall), RH (1-1, 1-2),
RH — 0 0 3 1 0 4 6 4
A — 4 4 0 5 1 14 15 0
Vintz, McCullough (2) and Brown, Vintz (4)
Drumheller, Rhodes (5) and Orlosky
2B: A — Medina (2); RH — Kenyon.
Howard 15, Wilde Lake 0
The Lions earned their third win of the season Wednesday, after shutting out the visiting Wildecats in the five-inning victory.
Becky Merson pitched a gem for Howard, throwing five scoreless innings, while giving up just two hits, no walks and striking out eight.
Ashlyn Moynihan had two doubles and Katie Unkle had one double in the win, while Emily Polimeni (3), Unkle (2) and Merson (2), Wieman, Braswell, Colton, Morton, Kindbom, Moynihan and Paige Eakes batted in runners.
As a team, Howard finished with 14 hits and no errors.
The Lions are on the road Friday against Atholton, while Wilde Lake is back home April 3 against Mt. Hebron.
Ho (3-1 county, 3-2 overall), WL (1-3, 2-3)
WL — 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3
Ho — 7 2 2 4 x 15 14 0
MR (4-0 county, 4-1 overall), G (3-1, 3-2)
MR — 0 0 0 0 3 1 4 5 2
G — 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 3
2B: MR — Romy Lindahl; G — Dustin, McIntyre.