The No. 12-ranked Westminster Owls completed their upset run through the Class 4A East region yesterday with a 2-1 softball win over No. 8 Glen Burnie at Bachman Sports Complex.
More solid pitching from Nichol Moeller was accompanied by steady defense and just enough runs as the Owls qualified for the state playoffs for the third time, the first since 1988. Westminster (15-6) will meet Magruder at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Randazo Park in the state semifinals.
After needing eight innings to get past No. 6 Chesapeake-AA, 2-1, in Wednesday's semifinal, the Owls found themselves in another tightly contested game yesterday with even more on the line. They felt right at home.
Moeller scattered seven Glen Burnie hits, and after the Gophers tied the score at 1 in the bottom of the fourth, the Owls responded with the game-winner in the fifth.
Natalie Tibuurzi led off the inning with a double and scored on Mary Beth O'Banion's bloop single behind second.
Moeller did the rest. With the tying run on third in the seventh for the Gophers (14-9), she got Sara Schmidt to line out back at her to end the game.
"That's kind of been our style all season: excellent defense; Nichol has given us a huge lift pitching; and then we scratch and claw runs," said Westminster coach Bryan Shumaker, whose Owls knocked out No. 10 C. Milton Wright in the second round. "This was the kind of game we're used to playing, so we were comfortable. Looking at the region, we knew it was very tough - this is a major accomplishment and I'm proud how we executed."-- Glenn P. Graham
Dulaney 9, Western 4: The Lions won their first 4A North Regional title in four years, holding off the Wolverines. Kate Marchant led the way for Dulaney with four RBIs, and Deana Zornow had a double and a triple. Pitcher Sara Folckemmer went four innings and struck out four to earn the win.
"Four years ago, we won the title and our freshmen were there watching," said Dulaney coach Mourine White. "This time, they were the seniors getting it done, so it's pretty special for them."
No. 1 Northeast-AA 7, South River 0: For three innings, Jessica Sinkule kept the top-ranked Eagles off the base paths and off the scoreboard.
But RBI singles from junior Melissa Tewey and senior Steph Adams sparked Northeast (21-3) to its second Class 3A East Regional championship in three seasons. Northeast will play North Carroll at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in a state semifinal game.
The Eagles got nine singles against Sinkule (7-9), a sophomore who struck out seven and had allowed one hit in the first three innings.
"We had to be patient," said Tewey, who went 2-for-4 and drove in the game's first run in the fourth. "We were hitting the ball to them, but we were hitting it well."
Adams went 2-for-3, and sophomore Megan Lucas also went 2-for-3, with two runs scored.
Senior pitcher Rachel Herrick (9-0) fanned seven South River batters, but the Seahawks (12-9) threatened to ruin the shutout with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning.
But Northeast turned a double play when center fielder Erin Gray caught a fly ball and threw out Sinkule at home to end the game. -- Edward Lee
No. 11 North Carroll 9, South Carroll 4: Lisa Worden's two-run single capped a six-run second inning that lifted the Panthers (18-3) to the Class 3A West Regional title over the visiting Cavaliers.
North Carroll, which was a Class 3A finalist in 1999, beat South Carroll four times this season. North Carroll pitcher Angie Springer had three RBIs on two hits, including a double.
Fallston 7, Franklin 3: Fallston scored two in the first inning and added three in the second and never looked back to beat host Franklin in the Class 2A North Regional championship.
No. 5 Atholton 1, No. 13 Howard 0: Sarah Costa's leadoff homer in the second inning lifted the host Raiders (21-2) to the Class 2A South Regional title and their second consecutive trip to the state tournament.
Pitcher Katie Zitnay held Howard (15-6) to two hits and struck out five. Atholton, which lost last year's state final by one run, will play the winner of today's Catonsville-Lansdowne game at 3 p.m. Tuesday in a state semifinal game.
Catoctin 4, Glenelg 3: Catoctin eliminated the visiting Gladiators (13-10) for the third straight season, scoring a run in the eighth inning for the Class 1A South Regional title.
Catoctin scored three runs in the third to take a 3-1 lead before a two-run double by Glenelg's Ali Biggs tied the score in the sixth.