Westminster made the big plays and got steady pitching from Stephanie Harrell to hold off Liberty, 4-3, yesterday and clinch the Carroll County girls softball championship.
Harrell gave up six hits, walked two and struck out four in a game that was played over two days at Liberty.
A thunderstorm Wednesday forced the game to be halted after three innings with the Owls ahead, 2-1, and they were able to finish the job yesterday.
Westminster took the county title with a 5-1 record, one game ahead of three-time defending champion North Carroll (4-2).
Liberty (2-3) needed to win yesterday and beat South Carroll on Monday to force a three-way tie for the championship.
Harrell said: "My fastball was working today and my changeup was working the day before."
The Westminster offense was led by Julie Backof, Brooke Cavey and Laura Braun, who each drove in a run. The Owls' fourth run scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning, giving them a 4-1 lead.
Two of the hits off Harrell came from Liberty catcher Amy Wolff, including a run-scoring double in the third inning Wednesday.
Wolff, a daring runner as well as an outstanding hitter, walked with two out in the seventh and represented the tying run.
She had stolen second in a two-run Liberty sixth inning, but Lions coach Bob Burger elected not to send Wolff with two outs and cleanup hitter Andrea Dixon getting some good cuts at the plate.
Dixon hit three solid shots, all foul, before grounding to short to end the game.
Wolff said she wanted to run in the seventh "but I have to wait for the signal. I love to steal bases. It would have been nice to win the county but you can't live in the past. We just didn't hit the ball that well this season."
The Owls (10-7 overall, 6-6 in the Central Maryland Conference) did not collect enough points to make the 4A regionals.
However, Liberty (7-9 and 2-9 in the CMC) was still in the 2A, Region I playoff picture yesterday even though the Lions were beaten by Linganore, 5-2, in a game that followed the completion of the Westminster game.
Liberty, North Carroll and Glenelg are battling for the third and fourth spots behind North Hagerstown and Southern Garrett in 2A, Region I.
Liberty needs to beat South Carroll on Monday or Atholton on Tuesday to have a chance at the regionals.