In recent weeks, the Northeast offense has been jumping all over opponents early.
Yesterday afternoon against visiting Chesapeake, the No. 3 Eagles played the waiting game.
With five of their eight hits coming in the pivotal, three-run fifth inning, the Eagles came from behind to beat the No. 8 Cougars, 3-1, and clinch the mighty North Division title.
Northeast (14-2, 9-0) will meet No. 5 Arundel, winners of the South Division, for the county championship tomorrow afternoon at Glen Burnie at 3: 45.
But first, the Eagles will close out their regular season today against top-ranked Glen Burnie in a make-up game from Friday.
After chasing everything Chesapeake pitcher Erin Taylor sent to the plate in the first four innings with no success, the Eagles finally were able to bear down in the fifth.
Erin Gray started the inning with a sharp liner up the middle. Amanda Shifflett drove her home one out later with a hard grounder past short, tying the game at 1-1.
Freshman catcher Stephanie Adams delivered the big blow, a triple to deep center to score Shifflett with the go-ahead run. Renee Mrowczynski, making her return to the plate after shoulder problems sidelined her for most of the season, got her second hit of the afternoon to bring home Adams.
"We just had to get our heads into the game and put the ball in play," Adams said. "I was just looking for something to hit hard."
It was all the offense junior standout pitcher Stacy Smith would need in improving her season record to 8-0. After giving up an earned run in the second when Meredith Pirone singled home Lauren Gontkof, Smith was nearly flawless in allowing one single the rest of the way with seven strikeouts.
"It's nice to know we can come from behind in a tough ball game," said Northeast coach Marianne Shultz. "Maybe it was the long dreary weekend. It took us a while to wake up."
The Cougars (10-7) will close out their regular season today against North County before playing host to Arundel in the first round of the region playoffs on Friday. They lost to the Wildcats, 16-8, in the teams' regular-season meeting.
Severna Park 15, Southern-AA 5: Keith Brunst hit two home runs to tie the state record with his 12th of the season to lift the Falcons over the Bulldogs in an Anne Arundel County game.
Pub Date: 5/05/98