Pitcher Amy Jakubowski, who set her team's aggressive tone by stealing home in the first inning, no-hit Springbrook as Chesapeake-Anne Arundel moved within one win of defending its state 4A softball championship with an 11-0 victory last night.
Jakubowski (9-2), who was also 4-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, also hit a sixth-inning home run to the 280 sign in right field.
Chesapeake will face No. 4 Frederick in Friday's 8:30 p.m. final. The Cadets (14-5) knocked off top-seeded Oxon Hill, 11-1.
Jakubowski walked two but faced the minimum 21 batters when both runners were thrown out attempting to steal, one by catcher Stacey Grokas and the other by Jakubowski.
"This isn't my best game. The perfect game [vs. Severna Park this season] was, but tonight was pretty good," said Jakubowski, a senior, who lost another potential perfect game to the last Glen Burnie batter in Saturday's Region IV final. She had two no-hitters, two one-hitters and two two-hitters this year.
Jakubowski, who struck out nine, said she felt "much more comfortable" after the second-seeded Cougars (19-3) scored three first-inning runs. She batted in the second with a single to right, then scored the second with her steal of home.
"I just get a lot more comfortable after a couple of runs have scored," said Jakubowski, who felt even better after Chesapeake scored five runs on six hits in the sixth. Natalie Black's single and a double by Stacey Necessary drove in two runs each.
In all, Chesapeake had 15 hits against No. 3 Springbrook (14-5), including two or more by Necessary, Grokas, Jaime Long, Nancy Yeager and Black.
This would appear to be a team on a roll. "I'm pretty confident, but pretty nervous too," said coach Denny Thiele, who also won a state 4A title in 1988. "We're coming down to the last few 4A teams, so anything can happen.
"But tonight we jumped on them early, and I know we'll be ready for Friday."
In an ordinary year, Northeast's improving hitting and pitcher Kristy Zulka's strong comeback from a knee injury would indicate another state Class 2A championship for the Eagles.
It still may happen. But Marcie Whitehead of top-seeded Damascus is not having an ordinary year.
Whitehead, who entered yesterday's semifinals with a national-record 15 no-hitters (including four perfect games), shut down Mount Hebron, 14-0, to set up a Friday championship game with Northeast.
Whitehead tossed a one-hitter against Mount Hebron, striking out 17 -- including the last 11 -- while walking two. Whitehead (18-0) was most effective using a low drop to set up a low curve on the outside corner.
Damascus coach Barbara King said: "We think Northeast has a great ballclub, one that can hit the ball and can pitch. We'll just take it the way we have all season -- one game at a time."
The second-seeded Eagles (18-3) had 11 hits and capitalized on PTC five Stephen Decatur errors to score 11 unearned runs in a 15-1 romp.
Zulka (10-2), who threw five no-hit innings before giving way to Ericka Shade, struck out five and walked none. She faced the minimum 15 batters but lost her shot at a perfect game when Dawn Diskin's routine fly ball was dropped in the third.
"My curve wasn't working -- and I have no idea why -- but I wagetting my fastball, change and rise over," said Zulka.
Questionable base-running took Northeast out of the first inning, but the Eagles used hits by Isaac, Shade and Stephanie Lazor to score three unearned runs in the second.
Stephen Decatur then committed errors on the first four fielding chances of the third inning to ignite an eight-run outburst by Northeast.
Five-time champion and top-seeded North Carroll used a five-run fourth-inning rally to edge No. 4 Calvert, 8-7, and gain Friday's 8:30 p.m. championship game against Elkton.
Elkton beat Laurel, 13-0, as Katy Link and Karen Clendaniel combined on a no-hitter, striking out 11, and Carmen Buckland ** hit a three-run homer in the first inning.
Elkton (17-1) had 13 hits and no errors.
Second-seeded North Caroline had 12 hits to back Michelle Butler's two-hitter in eliminating fourth-seeded Francis Scott Key, 11-0. The Bulldogs (14-4) will meet No. 1 Clear Spring (17-2), a 20-0 winner over fourth-seeded Mardela (9-10), in Friday's 6 p.m. final.