Westminster perfect with championship


COLLEGE PARK - Westminster knew that Chesapeake pitcher Kristie Hurman threw a no-hitter earlier this week in the state semifinal, but the Owls came into the Class 4A state championship game last night determined to be aggressive at the plate.

Westminster delivered that message by hitting the ball hard several times in the early innings and finally broke through with four runs on five hits in the fourth inning. That was enough for pitcher Stacy Davis, who tossed a two-hitter as the No. 4 Owls scored a 4-2 victory over No. 2 Chesapeake for the state title at the University of Maryland.

The victory completed a 23-0 season for Westminster and gave the Owls their second state title in four years. Westminster also won the 4A championship in 2001.

The Owls went down in order in the top of the first inning, but leadoff hitter Jamie Hines and second batter Alexa Ashwell lined shots to the outfield that sent a message.

"We knew [Hurman] threw strikes," Westminster coach Byron Moore said. "We hit the ball very well in that first inning, and we [had] said, 'Come out aggressive.'"

Westminster often jumped on pitches early in the count, if not the first ones, and finished with seven hits. The Owls needed that good hitting after errors on three straight plays in the bottom of the second inning helped Chesapeake (21-5) take a 2-0 lead.

The mistakes helped the Cougars put runners on second and third with one out. Chesapeake's Jordyn Williams then lined an RBI single to left field. Samantha Dulski scored on that play when Kristina Skinner bobbled the ball in left.

But the Owls rebounded in the fourth, when Alexa Ashwell led off with a single to center and moved to second when Christina Simmers reached on an error. One out later, Amanda LaPorta lined an RBI single to center. Stephanie Gerber loaded the bases with a single, and Stacy Noland tied the score with a single.

Skinner then made up for her error one batter later by lining a two-run single to left on the first pitch, giving Westminster a 4-2 lead.

"I was just looking for a hit," Skinner said. "The first pitches were all good pitches, so we jumped on them."

The bottom third of the Westminster order - Noland, Nicky Wetzelberger and Skinner - combined for four hits and three RBIs. Noland and Wetzelberger had two clutch hits in the seventh-inning rally that forced extra innings in Westminster's 2-1 win over Watkins Mill in the state semifinal.

"That's happened for us a couple of times this year," Moore said. "Our seven, eight and nine hitters can hit the ball as well as our one, two and three."

The two-run lead was enough for Davis (12-0), despite that she had to overcome four Westminster errors. Another Owls miscue helped Chesapeake put runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, but Davis escaped.

Davis retired 17 of the final 19 batters she faced. The junior threw a total of 83 pitches and needed only 43 in the final five innings.

"We didn't hit today - I think it's that simple," said Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger. "I thought we were prepared. The kids were loose, they were ready to play and when we got up 2-0, I thought we were going to be fine ... but they came right back and put it on us."

W 000 400 0 - 4 7 4

C 020 000 0 - 2 2 2

Davis and Gerber; Hurman and Dayton. 2B: W-Noland.

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