Chesapeake junior shortstop Angela Yannone had a positive feeling when she stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth inning yesterday at Anne Arundel rival Northeast.
She had watched the three batters before her hit two-out singles, and she wasn't about to end the fun. Yannone's triple - a line drive that found the gap between right and center field - highlighted a five-run inning that broke open a tight game, leading No. 4 Chesapeake to an 8-3 win over the No. 8 Eagles.
The Cougars, who have had to scratch and claw for wins most of the season, improved to 13-2 overall and to 10-1 in the county. Northeast dropped to 11-4 and 8-3.
Yannone said the big inning couldn't have come at a better time.
"It definitely boosted our confidence. It was such a team effort. It was great to have that inning because that was what pretty much won the game," she said. "I knew I was going to produce because after everybody else hit; it was just confidence building."
After taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth, the Cougars put a runner on second base with two outs in the pivotal fifth. Senior leadoff hitter Brooke Owen singled to right to put runners on second and third before Erika Stasch grounded a single up the middle to score two.
Sophomore pitcher Lauren Gibson, who struck out eight and got the tough outs when needed, hit a run-scoring single to left before Yannone took her turn. She would come across on an error to make it 6-0.
"We still hadn't hit great against some of the really good clubs, but today we were able to put together the two-out rally which really opened it up," Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger said.
For the Eagles, it was a case of not beating the Cougars to the punch. They stranded three runners in the first two innings, were caught stealing in the third and had another runner in scoring position in the fourth before the Cougars got on track offensively.
Northeast coach Marianne Shultz said the Eagles must work on showing more composure.
"We're dwelling on things instead of just flushing them and getting the next out," she said. "We've got to be resilient and bounce back."
Gibson singled twice, scored two runs and added an RBI to lead the Cougars, who also got a run-scoring triple from Lauren Gottlieb. Alexis Matual singled, walked twice and scored two runs.
The Eagles got three singles from Jill Mullan, and Autumn Herrin had two singles, a walk and a run scored.