Severna Park surges to triumph

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Baseball bats wait to be used in the Cincinnati Reds dugout during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday, April 1, 2015, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Severna Park's Haley Simonds had one word to describe her performance through the first four innings of Thursday's game with Northeast.

"Ugly," was all she said regarding the first four innings where she gave up seven runs and struggled with her control.


Simonds settled down over the next three innings, though, and the Falcons used a five-run sixth inning and came back to defeat the Eagles, 10-9.

After four walks and three wild pitches along with a pair of passed balls charged to fill-in catcher Nikki Burke through the first four innings, Simonds set the Eagles down in order in the fifth, then gave up two runs on four hits and walked just one over the final two innings.


"I'd have a series where I would feel my rhythm, then it would un-sync," said Simonds, on her early struggles. "I'd get in it and I'd be good, but then it seemed like I would get out of it as fast as I got in it. But, in the last three innings I found my footing again and it was back to normal."

While Simonds settled down over the final three innings, the Falcons still had some work to do. After building a 3-0 lead after one, they watched the Eagles score seven straight runs to take a 7-3 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth.

Jessie Smith hit a solo home run in the fourth and Alyssa Dolan singled in a run to cut the lead to 7-5. The Eagles went back ahead by three with a run in the top of the sixth, but the Falcons scored five in their half to take their first lead since the bottom of the first.

Freshman Campbell Kline had the big blow in the inning with a three-run home run over the wall in right-center field to tie the game.

"I wasn't thinking home run. I just wanted to get a hit and get them around," said Kline, whose sister, Morgan, was the Capital Gazette's volleyball player of the year in the fall. "It was awesome. It was really fun."

With the heart of the order coming up, Simonds walked and Hailey Manning reached on a fielder's choice where the Eagles were late throwing to second in an attempt to get the lead runner. Northeast's Jenna Matulonis fought back to get the next two outs, but pinch hitter Caroline Duffy's infield single scored a run and a second came in on a throwing error to give the Falcons a 10-8 lead.

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Simonds retired the first two hitters of the seventh, but the Eagles strung together three straight singles and cut the lead to one. With the tying run on third, Simonds got Sarah Gordon to ground out to short to end the game.

"It takes a lot of mental toughness to tough it out when some pitches aren't working," Severna Park coach Meredith McAlister said. "Plus, Nikki (Burke) stuck it out and got better toward the end of the game, and that's what we needed."


Kline finished 3 for 4 with three RBIs and also scored three runs, while Manning went 3 for 4 and scored a pair of runs for the Falcons. Sarah Sherman also drove in two runs for Severna Park (4-1).

"They're always a tough team and Joe (Hart) is a good coach," McAlister said. "It's always nice to play them because it's a fun game, and it's nice to come out on top."

Veronica Hampton, Kirsten Midkiff and Christina Jordon each had two hits for the Eagles, who fell for the first time after a pair of wins to start the season.

"We're still getting our feet underneath us," Northeast coach Joe Hart said. "I've got a young team, and they'll be there when they're ready."

Northeast (2-1) 023 201 1 - 9 10 1
Severna Park (4-1) 300 205 x - 10 12 1

WP: Simonds (4-1). LP: Matulonis (2-1). 2B: NE – Dittmar, Matulonis. HR: SP – Smith, Kline. RBI: NE – Weddle, Hampton, Matulonis, Schmidt, Collins; SP – Kline 3, Sherman 2, Dolan, Novosel, Duffy, Smith.