The Anne Arundel Rebels defeated the Lake Shore Spartans 14-and-under girls fast-pitch softball team, 6-5, last week to capture the Maryland Amateur Softball Association state championship at the Carroll County Regional Park in Westminster.
Both teams qualified to compete in the ASA Mid-Atlantic regionals to take place July 11-12 in Columbia.
The Rebels jumped out to a 5-1 lead before the Spartans stormed back with four runs in the sixth inning to knot the game at 5-5.
Tami Barrington, Tracy Mrazeck, Katie Luckhardt, Lauren Watson and Christina Nutile led the Spartan comeback, but it was Christy Atchinson of the Rebels who scored the winning run with two outs in the seventh.
"The kids put it all together for one weekend," said Rebels coach Steve Donaldson, whose team boasts a 15-12 overall record. "We try to play the percentages. We squeezed in some runs, and the pitching was on.
"Lately, the team has been hot and cold, but I could tell they really wanted this one, and I'm happy for the girls."
The Rebels got strong pitching performances throughout the tournament from Charlene Rice, Christie Huber and Katie Marsheck, along with stellar defensive play from Atchinson, shortstop Laura Newcomb, third baseman Jenny Bernard, second baseman Stephanie Donaldson, first baseman Jamie Mikeska, Lauryn McAlister, Megan Boushell, Angie Shuttleworth, Kristin Briggs, Michelle Garvey, Amy Hutson and Shana McKinney.
In the Rebels' opener, Marsheck pitched a no-hitter to lift Anne Arundel to a 4-0 win over Lake Shore. Marsheck and Huber combined for a one-hitter in their second game, a 4-1 win over Riviera Beach.
Huber came back in Game 3 and struck out 15 in a 6-2 win over Frederick, setting up the title game against Lake Shore.
"This is a major step for our team, and, hopefully, we'll carry the same enthusiasm to the regionals in July," said Donaldson. "I'm just very happy for our girls. It's their victory."
Lake Shore's 12-and-under contingent won all four of its games en route to an ASA state crown.
The Spartans defeated Harundale, 11-0, in their opener behind a one-hit shutout by Sabrina Rayals. Rayals helped her own cause with three singles and was assisted offensively by Elizabeth Elliott (grand slam) and Theresa Clifford (double).
Angie Kissling shut down Harundale with several fine defensive plays at second base.
In the second game, Brooke Clyde homered, tripled and tallied two singles as the Spartans outlasted the Riviera Beach Spirit, 11-9. Henderson got the win on the mound, striking out eight.
Harundale downed the Severna Park Blue Thunder, 13-7, in the third game, making the team the victor of the winners' bracket and earning the right to play in the championship game.
The Spartans met the Frederick Rebels in the final and handed them a 9-1 defeat in six innings.
Rayals smacked a double and two singles, while Newton and Elliott added two doubles and a triple, respectively. Gontkof and Clyde each contributed with a double in support of Henderson, who struck out five in a contest shortened by the "slaughter rule."
"The girls worked real hard this year, and it's starting to pay off now," said Lake Shore coach Bill Henderson. "If they continue to work hard, I don't see any reason why we can't make it to the nationals."