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Owings Mills takes region title, 5-2 Softball


The pitching of Jen Ziomek from Owings Mills was not a big hit with Poolesville.

Ziomek struck out a career-high 13 while throwing a three-hitter, and Allie Coufal went 3-for-4 with three runs scored as Owings Mills defeated visiting Poolesville, 5-2, to win its second consecutive Class 1A, Region II softball title.

Second-seeded Owings Mills (13-7) advanced to the state semifinals Tuesday at Randazzo Park in Glen Burnie at 3 p.m. The Eagles have won 11 of their past 13 after a 2-5 start.

Fourth-seeded Poolesville, which routed top-seeded Dunbar, 28-1, to reach the region final, finished 6-12.

Ziomek started slowly, walking two and giving up two unearned runs in the first. The runs scored as Owings Mills made two errors on one play when Poolesville tried a double steal.

Ziomek improved as the game progressed, retiring 12 of the final 14 batters. Ziomek kept Poolesville batters off-balance by mixing her good riser and changeup.

Ziomek had some trouble finding the plate early with her changeup, but hit her stride in the middle innings. The junior right-hander struck out the side in the second and fifth and struck out at least one batter in each inning.

"It takes me a while to warm up," said Ziomek. "I think we were all just nervous."

Owings Mills coach Lisa Meyer said her team often fell behind early this season, so the quick 2-0 hole did not faze the Eagles.

"I don't think we played many games where we haven't allowed runs early," said Meyer. "The more we go along, the tougher we get, especially Jen."

Coufal was in the middle of each Owings Mills rally. She hit the ball hard each time, with an RBI triple, two singles and a stolen base.

"After Thursday's game, I got a new bat," said Coufal. "It worked."

With Poolesville up 2-0, she led off the bottom of the first with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a ground out and scored on Nicole Winik's ground out.

She led off the third with a single, stole second and scored on Ziomek's triple, tying the game. Owings Mills blew the game open in the fourth.

Mandy Kessler walked and scored on Jen Styar's ground out for a 3-2 lead. Sheree Tilley walked, and Coufal brought her in with a triple to center.

Julia Moretti followed with an RBI single for a 5-2 lead.

Poolesville got a strong effort from sophomore pitcher Denise Conni, who gave up only five hits.

"She kept us in in," said Poolesville coach Rick Dorsey. "They just got the key hits when they had people on base. Their balls had the eyes today and ours didn't."

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