River Hill freshman Ella Wood talks about the Hawks' defeating Long Reach 12-0 in a softball game on March 29, 2019.
With a relatively young roster this spring, featuring just three seniors, River Hill coach Marni Rosenbaum was careful during the preseason about publicly setting expectations too high.
However, after four straight double-digit wins to open the season, including a 12-0 decision against Long Reach Friday afternoon, the Hawks are officially no longer flying under the radar.
“I had a feeling we had the potential to make a big move up, but at the same time I didn’t want to put unnecessary pressure on them — especially the freshmen. They know now, though, we’ve got a big bulls eye on our back and everyone’s going to start coming for us,” said Rosenbaum, whose Hawks finished 9-8 in county play a season ago. “The biggest thing moving forward, as I just told them, is that our focus doesn’t change. It’s still one at bat, one inning and one game at a time.”
Against the Lightning, the methodical approach went a long way for River Hill (4-0, 4-0).
The Hawks shook off a couple scoreless early frames to plate two runs apiece in the third and fourth innings. Then, for good measure, they added four more in both the sixth and seventh innings.
All awhile the defense, led by freshman pitcher Ella Wood, did its part by holding Long Reach (1-2, 1-2) off the scoreboard.
“We have six pitchers this year and they all kind of have their own strengths, so we try to look at the opponents and match them up accordingly,” Rosenbaum said. “Today was Ella’s turn and she really did a great job, especially in terms of coming out strong and setting the tone early.”
Wood struck out five of the first six batters she faced and ended up pitching the complete game, striking out 13 and allowing just three hits. She helped River Hill secure four 1-2-3 innings.
Long Reach pitcher Sayla Phillips was dealing early as well, keeping the game scoreless through two innings. But in the third, a throwing error brought River Hill sophomore Sara Emig (3-4, 4 RBI) to the plate with two on and she delivered a 2-RBI double to kick off the scoring. Then in the fourth inning, another throwing error led to two more runs and the lead increased to four.
Still, the Lightning had a golden opportunity to get right back into the thick of things in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back doubles from Sierra Sims and Kamryn Walker, along with an intentional walk to Hailey Ramberg, loaded the bases with one out for Long Reach.
But Wood buckled down to get a strikeout and a line out to first base to escape the jam unharmed.
Long Reach coach Melissa Boardman said the complexion of the game changed after that.
“We made some errors today, and they came in some tough spots, but the most important thing is that we need to hit. We are a hitting team from one to nine in our line-up and we feed off one another,” she said. “So there’s no question that when we had a rally going there in the fourth inning, not being able to score kept all the momentum in their favor.”
After a scoreless fifth for both teams, River Hill went back to work offensively. The Hawks sent nine runners to the plate in each of the final two innings, smacking four hits and scoring four runs in both the sixth and seventh.
Overall offensive stars for the Hawks in addition to Emig included sophomore Allie Wilson (4-4, 2 RBI, run), Jenna Kenyon (3-5, 2 runs), Brooke Gettier (2-4, 3 runs) and Delanie Vintz (1-3, double, 3 runs, 2 RBI). Quinn Kindbom also reached base four times with a single and three walks.
A strong performance from junior Jordan Hinz at pitcher and at the plate helped the Eagles outlast the Vikings in a 10-inning instant classic. The game was scoreless through the first seven innings.
Hinz ended up going 3-3 with 2 RBI at the plate and holding the Vikings off as the game wore on.
In the top of the eighth, Lauren Marcotte doubled to score Sarah Phelps and Hinz hit a sacrifice fly to score Marcotte to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. Mt. Hebron then answered with two runs of its own to keep the game going.
Neither team scored in the ninth, but Centennial finally got its bats going in the 10th. Hinz, Esther Kim and Jenna Torres all picked up RBI to make it 5-2 and then Gussie Ruckdeschel increased the lead to five runs with a 2-RBI double to right center.
Mt. Hebron kept pushing, getting two more runs in the bottom half of the 10th but ultimately fell just short. The Vikings were led on the afternoon by Bri Hoskinson (3-5), Eliza Munns (2-5, 2 RBI, 2 runs) and Alex Wendt (2-5, RBI).
Centennial’s offensive stars in addition to Hinz were Marcotte (2-3, RBI, 2 runs, double), Phelps (2-5, double, run) and Torres (2-5, RBI).
Big defensive plays for the Eagles came from Torres in right field in the bottom of the first and Phelps snagging a line drive in centerfield during the 10th inning.
The Mustangs scored 11 in the first inning on the way to bouncing back from the team’s first loss of the season the other day. Olivia Buchwald led the Marriotts Ridge offense with a 3-3 day that included 6 RBI. Madi Costigan added three hits, including a triple and 4 RBI.
Other standouts at the plate were Megan Hughes (2-2), Ashleigh Gerber (2-2) and Sydney Parkent (1-1). Alex Lindahl (four strikeouts in three innings) and Madi Costigan (four strikeouts in two innings) split the pitching for Marriotts Ridge.
Anna Seldon had a double as one of two hits for Oakland Mills.
The Gators won their first game of the season, scoring 13 times in the first two innings and never looking back.
Rhiannon Little (2-4, double, 3 RBI, 2 runs), Maddy Davis (2-2, 3 runs, RBI), Desi Hatzakos (2-3, double, 2 runs, RBI), Maddy Jones (2-2, 2 runs, 2 RBI) Macayla Allen (2-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs) and Alyssa Kelly (2-3, 2 runs, RBI) all had multi-hit day for Reservoir. Paige Bright also added a home run and 4 RBI.
Kylee Gunkel earned the win at pitcher, allowing one run and striking out six in four innings.
Brooke Webster (RBI), Kasey Baird and Lily Richards (double, RBI) all had multiple hits in the loss for Wilde Lake. Rachel Van Osdel and Macavia Miles scored the runs