Calvert High rallied with two runs in the fifth inning to overcome Centennial, 3-2, in the state Class 3A softball championship game yesterday at Randazzo Park in Severn.
Centennial, (18-4), bidding to become the first Howard County team to win a state softball title, fell short despite fine defense by catcher Kari Chichester and right fielder Kelly West. Chichester threw out three runners and West made two running catches to halt Calvert threats.
"I'm really proud of us," West said. We wanted to win it for the seniors. They helped us so much. They were great the whole season."
West did a lot to keep the Eagles in the lead for most of the game. In the Calvert third inning with a runner on third and one out, West made a lunging catch of Katie Grover's line drive to keep her team ahead, 2-0. In the next inning, with Centennial's lead down to 2-1, West ended a Cavaliers threat with a running catch of Christy Peel's soft fly ball with runners on first and third.
But her magic faded in the fifth. Lisa Wood singled to open the inning off starting pitcher Kim May but Wood was caught stealing -- one of the three thrown out by Chichester. Michelle Peel followed with a walk. Grover then grounded a triple to right-center, scoring Peel to tie the game.
"It took a bounce right past me," West said. I thought I could stop it, but I just missed it."
Dona King followed with the game-winning hit, a single just past diving shortstop Kelly Butler.
"We knew they were a good team," said May, who struck out five. "We wanted to come out here and do our best. We did, but they played too good."
Coach Dale Huting's Eagles had gone five straight games without allowing a run before yesterday.
Centennial scored in its first at-bat. Butler walked to lead off the game. With two out, Kathy Gallagher singled to right field. With Jeanine Lee at the plate, Calvert catcher Jessica Kwiatkoski tried to pick off Butler, but the throw eluded third baseman Michelle Peel and ended up in left field, enabling Butler to score.
In the third, Terri Bickerton was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Two outs later, Gallagher lined an RBI single to right field.
Chichester was outstanding behind the plate -- throwing out potential base stealers in the third, fifth, and sixth innings.
"Kari, the whole season, has been doing that," May said. "She had so many of those that it's routine."
Hunting said: "Our defense hasn't let us down at any point and it gave us a chance tonight."
* North East 5, Damascus 3: Second-seeded North East of Cecil County scored three runs in the top of the first inning and went on to upset top-seeded Damascus, 5-3, and win the Class 2A state softball championship at Randazzo Park in Severn.
Damascus, the defending 2A champion, committed seven errors behind sophomore pitcher Christine Trunnell, who allowed five hits.
North East senior pitcher Missy Gamble also gave up five hits, including back-to-back triples to Heather Templeton and Diane Skoda in a two-run fifth inning.