Marriotts Ridge travels to Long Reach for a Howard County softball game on Wednesday, April 13

On the heels of a pair of one-run losses, Marriotts Ridge came out Wednesday on the road against Long Reach and left nothing to chance.

The Mustangs' offense pounded out 13 hits —four by lead-off hitter Jordan Stepke — and scored 11 runs to back up a dominant effort from pitcher Mikayla Barnard (12 strikeouts) on the way to an 11-0 shutout victory over the Lightning.

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"Lately we've been talking a lot about mental toughness and coming back after tough losses and tough innings," Stepke said. "The last two losses have been tough, so I think coming back we had to get a win under our belts. We knew Long Reach was a good team, so this is really helping our confidence build."

Facing off against a Long Reach (4-2, 5-2) squad that had won five straight games, Marriotts Ridge (4-2, 4-3) knew it was going to have to be at its best Wednesday. To do that, Stepke said the team really had to stay positive following its recent narrow losses to Howard and Reservoir.

"They were tough losses, but I think we showed, especially against Howard, that when we play how we are capable of playing then we can play with anyone in the county," Stepke said.

The Mustangs certainly looked like a team that was all business right from the onset against the Lightning.

Barnard, in particular, set the tone in the pitcher's circle by striking out the side in the first. She ended up allowing just one base runner — via a walk — in the opening three innings.

"In the first inning I was trying to hit my spots and paint the corners, and it really worked out," Barnard said. "It gave me big confidence to finish out the game."

With Barnard dealing, the Mustangs' offense stepped in to do its part in the top of the third.

Stepke led the rally off with a single and then Marriotts Ridge ended up loading the bases with no outs courtesy of a Molly Nies walk and a Romy Lindahl single. By the time the inning ended, all three of those runners had crossed the plate for a 3-0 lead.

Grace McCoy provided one of the biggest hits in that third inning with a 2-out RBI single.

Marriotts Ridge was right back at it with three more runs in the fourth inning, this time sending eight batters to the plate. Stepke provided the big blow in that frame with a 2-RBI triple. She, along with Shannon Burbank and Emma Meininger, accounted for the three runs.

Long Reach had chances to claw its way back into the game, particularly in the bottom of the fourth when the team loaded the bases with one out courtesy of a couple walks and a hit by pitch. But Barnard buckled down to record back-to-back strikeouts and keep the lead at 6-0.

On the day, the Marriotts Ridge sophomore pitcher allowed just one hit — to Lindsey Major in the fifth — and had four innings where she didn't allow a single runner to reach base.

The Mustangs ended up padding their advantage with three more runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. Barnard had RBI hits in both innings, including driving in Nies with a double in the seventh.

Long Reach pitcher Isa Carunungan ended up picking up the loss, but did have seven strikeouts.

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Looking forward, Marriotts Ridge coach Karyn Peksa said her biggest focus at this point in the season is on constant improvement.

"Every game we are taking something from the game and working on it the next day in practice. So, you can see it, every game we are getting better and better," Curley said. "We have the basics, so now we're working on the other stuff. Today we did much better with those other things."

Marriotts Ridge 11, Long Reach 0

123 456 7        R-H-E

MR      003 303 2        11-13-0

LR       000 000 0        0-1-3

Other scores:

Howard 8, Hammond 7

The Lions prevailed in a back-and-forth game to stay undefeated in county play (6-0). Hammond held leads of 2-0, 4-2 and 5-4 before Howard eventually took the lead for good.

"It was a barn burner … a hard fought win," Howard coach Chuck Rice said.

Hammond made five errors and Howard ultimately took advantage. The Lions ended up getting huge days offensively from Rachel Oliver (3-3, home run, double, 3 RBI) and Sophia Morton (2-2, RBI), along with timely extra-base hits from Jamie Bahrijczuk (triple), Emma Braswell, Steph Yarrish and Shanya Gordon.

On the other side, Hammond got strong efforts from Taylor Liguori (2-3, double) and Brittany Brewer (2-3, 2 RBI).

"The girls played a great game," Hammond coach Brad Speierman said. "I'm very proud of how well the girls played today and I hope they finally believe in themselves and how good they can be."

123 456 7        R-H-E

Ha       221 002 0        7-9-5

Ho       312 020 x        8-13-2

Glenelg 6, River Hill 5

The Gladiators moved to 5-1 in league play and into sole possession of second place in the county standings with the win, but they had to earn it. River Hill battled back from an early 6-1 deficit to get within one in the final inning.

Katie McIntyre led Glenelg with her hitting (3-4, double, RBI, run scored) and her defense (diving catch in the seventh inning). Anna Turvin, meanwhile, picked up the win at pitcher by striking out eight and walking five.

It was with three runs in the top of the second that the Gladiators grabbed a lead they ultimately never lost. Julia Chamberlain's 2-RBI double and McIntyre's RBI single did the damage. Glenelg then built its lead up with a run in the third and two more in the fourth. The fourth inning was highlighted by a RBI double from Katie Dustin.

Paige Hoeflich also had a strong game for the Gladiators with a pair of doubles.

River Hill was able to battle back behind the bats of Hannah Brown (3-4, walk), Jalyn Cox (2-4), Janine Abate (2-2, 2 walks), Bianca Brade (2-4) and Crystal Lin (1-4, 2 RBI). Delanie Vintz had one of her better pitching performances of the season, striking out four and walking just two.

123 456 7        R-H-E

G         031 200 0        6-12-4

RH      001 120 1        5-12-3

Mt. Hebron 5, Atholton 2

Evvie Buehlman had a huge game both offensively and in the pitcher's circle to lead the Vikings to the important win. The senior star had three hits, including a pair of doubles, at the plate and then struck out 13 batters around just two hits allowed at pitcher.

Rachel Veslany (two doubles, single), Rylee Kinsella (double) also had strong offensive days. The Vikings played solid defense, catching an Atholton base runner trying to steal and also turning a double play. Rachel Cadigan led the defensive effort.

Atholton had its pitcher Patty Drumheller strike out six in a complete-game effort, while Miranda Thompson recorded a hit and an RBI.

123 456 7        R-H-E

MH     003 002 0        5-10-0

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A         002 000 0        2-2-1

Reservoir 27, Wilde Lake 0

The Gators wasted no time grabbing the lead, scoring 11 times in the first inning and the cruising the rest of the way.

Overall, Reservoir had 10 different players register hit. Carly Clarke (3-5, 6 runs, 4 RBI), Holly Daum (4-4, 4 runs, 4 RBI, 2 doubles), Hunter Little (4-5, 7 RBI, 2 triples, 3 runs) and Emily Lloyd (4-5, 3 RBI, 2 runs) paced the offensive outburst.

Lloyd also excelled at pitcher with six strikeouts and just four hits allowed. Those hits for Wilde Lake came from Avery Haigh, Sophia Hilger, Stella Johnson and Kasey Baird.

123      45        R-H-E

WL      000      00        0-4-6

Re        (11)34 9x        27-23-2

Centennial 13, Oakland Mills 3

The Eagles' bats continued their recent hot streak, leading the way past the Scorpions.

Centennial got on the board in the first when Camryn Allen scored on a RBI double by Emily Allen (2-3, walk, double, grand slam, 5 RBI). Then the team really broke things open in the second with eight runs.

Carrie Strott (2-2, RBI), Jordan Ciraolo and Sam Sterenberg all set the table with singles. Then, after a couple walks, Emily Allen came up and delivered a grand slam to deep center field. Later in the inning, Strott and Ciraolo delivered RBI hits.

Ciraolo pitched a complete game for Centennial, sprinkling five hits over five innings.

123 45             R-H-E

OM     000 12             3-5-1

C         181 3x             13-11-3

Chapelgate 16, Bryn Mawr 7 (Tuesday)

Despite playing short three players due to injuries, the Yellowjackets were able to avenge last year's IAAM B Conference championship game loss.

Grace Edwards was the winning pitcher with eight strikeouts and two walks. She also delivered four hits and scored four times at the plate.

Ultimately, Chapelgate scored 11 times in the final two innings to pull away.

"With five lead changes, we showed resiliency in a game where we could have tanked with five errors. But we kept fighting," Chapelgate coach John Isaac said.

123 456 7        R-H-E

CCA    203 004 7        16-11-5

BM      021 202 0        7-11-10

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