Momentum can be a funny thing. One second you have it, and the next second you don’t. Just ask Patterson Mill softball.
The Huskies erased a four-run deficit to tie the game in the top of the seventh before falling to North Dorchester, 5-4, in a Class 1A state semifinal Tuesday at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie.
The Eagles (22-2) will face Catoctin of Frederick County in this weekend’s state championship at the University of Maryland’s Softball Stadium in College Park.
The Eagles were led by leadoff hitter Anna Hopkins, who went 4-for-4 and scored three runs. Patterson Mill was led by Izzy Hiebler, who went 3-for-3 with and RBI single.
North Dorchester wasted little time getting on the board, getting three consecutive singles to start the bottom of the first, the last of which by Mackenzie Lewis scored Hopkins and pitcher Emilee Cohee for a 2-0 led.
The Eagles added to their lead in the bottom of the third. Hopkins and Cohee led off the inning with singles, and both ended up stealing their way into scoring position. Lewis grounded out to the pitcher, which allowed Hopkins to score and Cohee to move to third. Cohee then scored on a single by Maggie Hubbard to push the lead to 4-0.
The Huskies (18-4) got two runs back in the top of the fourth. With one out, Savannah Reedy hit a double. After a groundout moved her to third, pitcher Lilly Baldwin singled to drive in Reedy. After that, singles by Lily Hofmeister and Heibler scored Baldwin.
The Eagles led 4-2 until the seventh, when Patterson Mill rallied again.
The rally started when Kelsey Price doubled and Kenzie Knight beat out a single and advanced to second on a throwing error. With Kaylyn Pulket at the plate, a passed ball by Eagles catcher Maggie Hubbard allowed Price to score and cut the lead to 4-3. Paige Caprinolo’s groundout to Cohee allowed Knight to score and tie the game.
“We knew we had to score to win, and I knew we were capable of doing that” Hiebler said. “We scored 17 runs in our last game, so I knew we could respond. We just couldn’t get the one additional run we needed.”
Unfortunately for the Huskies, it was North Dorchester that scored the elusive fifth run.
The Eagles led off the bottom of the seventh with a single by Hopkins that bounced off pitcher Alyssa Miller’s glove. Patterson Mill coach Jeff Horton intentionally walked Cohee, and after a bunt single by Lewis loaded the bases, Hubbard ended the game with a single down the left field line.
“We knew we were in a great spot in our lineup coming into the seventh inning,” North Dorchester coach Carol Hubbard said. “The top part of our lineup had been producing for us all day, so they came through again when we needed them to.”
For the Eagles, the trip to the state final will be their first-ever appearance. Hubbard says they will be ready.
“This is the first time our school has ever made it this far,” she said. “My youngest daughter is on this team, so I’ve seen these kids grow up from when they were 6 and 8 [years old] to get here. For me to be able to coach them to this position is indescribable.”
For Patterson Mill, the chance to play in a third consecutive state title game slipped away. Still, Huskies coach Jeff Horton said he was proud of his team’s effort.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these girls,” he said. “Nobody thought we would be here this year, but look at the effort. We were down by four runs and we came back. That’s all I could really ask for. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for us. We have a good group coming back, so we’ll be ready next year.”
North Dorchester 5, Patterson Mill 4
PM 000 200 2 – 4 10 1
ND 202 000 1 – 5 11 1
Baldwin, Miller (4) and Hiebler; Cohee and Hubbard. 2B: PM – Reedy, Price.