Twice yesterday, No. 1 Glen Burnie fell behind by two runs at No. 7 Arundel. And both times, coach Bob Broccolino looked closely at his players for any signs of worry.
"They still seemed confident, they still seemed into the game," he said.
And they weren't about to lose for the second time in a row, scoring four runs in the fifth inning and taking a 5-3 victory over the Wildcats.
Chris Napora had the biggest hit of the inning, a two-run double off the fence in center field that erased a 3-1 deficit. She went 3-for-4, including two singles, to snap out of a mild slump.
Napora moved to third on a single by Samantha Miller and raced home on a bouncer to the right side of the infield by Susan Kroedel. A throwing error allowed Miller to score, and the Gophers (10-1) had made a complete recovery from Monday's 2-1 loss to No. 2 Severna Park.
"It wasn't a bad inning that hurt us," said Arundel coach Paul Yannuzzi, whose team was coming off Monday's 3-2 loss to Old Mill. "When Napora can hit the fence, that's not a bad inning."
The Wildcats scored twice in the first inning off Miller (6-0) after loading the bases with none out on infield hits by Ruth Wilson and Kristen Daffin (3-for-4) and a single to center by Mary Paxton. Miller got Kara Kitchen to pop up, then fielded a bouncer from Noon and threw home as Wilson (2-for-4) slid in safely.
A wild pitch brought in the second run. Kim Gonski was retired on a bouncer to the mound, and first baseman Mandy Farlow threw home to cut down Paxton, with catcher Jen Stapler blocking the plate and making the tag in a cloud of dust.
"Jenny may not have the best skills as a catcher in the county, but you can't fault her heart," Broccolino said. "She's the unsung hero if there ever was one."
Glen Burnie sliced the lead in half in the second inning on a one-out walk to Stacey Ellenberger, a wild pitch, an infield hit by Farlow and a throwing error. But Arundel (8-3) went ahead, 3-1, in the fourth on a leadoff single by Kitchen, a stolen base by pinch runner Alisha Hepfer and a two-out single to right by Marcia Lavin.
Then came the fifth inning, and Glen Burnie's comeback.
Jen Brukiewa led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Renee Sadaka. Denise Warren (2-for-4) hit a ground-rule double to right, and one batter later, Napora got hold of a pitch from Kitchen and tied the score.
Arundel loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but came up empty. And it put two runners on with one out in the seventh before Miller got Paxton to pop up and Kitchen to line to Napora at third.
Miller scattered eight hits, walked one and struck out two. "She's a workmanlike pitcher and she gets the job done," Broccolino said.
Kitchen allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out seven, including Napora on a high fastball with a runner on third and two out in the sixth.
"We figured out how to pitch to Napora six innings too late," Yannuzzi said. "I was trying to walk her."