Although all three area teams have been eliminated from the Amateur Softball Association Junior Olympic Under-18 national fast-pitch championships, they did not go down before putting on what Jade Garden coach Ron Schelhouse called "one hell of a show for Maryland."
Schelhouse's Bandits -- one of three Glen Burnie entries in the 70-team field -- put on perhaps the best and most determined show of all.
Knocked into the losers' bracket after Thursday's 1-0, extra-inning loss to Oklahoma City Ultimate (a team now in the semifinals), Jade Garden then had to contend with rain that played havoc with the schedule.
That resulted in a midnight start for the second game Friday. But pitcher Kerri Endler (Archbishop Spalding) shut down Broken Arrow, Okla., 5-0, behind two RBI by Jen Kisiner (Northeast) and solo run-scoring hits by Shani Cannon (Severna Park) and Niccole Dunleavy (Spalding) in a game that ended at 2:30 a.m..
Back on the field at 8 a.m., Endler -- a backup to Kim Sheridan throughout her career at Spalding -- blanked West Point, N.Y., 1-0, with Kelly Tibbs (Northeast) scoring on Dunleavy's first-inning single.
Central Atlantic Region champion Jade Garden's run finally ended with a 4-0 loss to Akron, Ohio, yesterday afternoon.
"This was my first national, but I didn't see anything that scared me, that made me shake in my boots," said Schelhouse, the 10th-year Bandits coach.
"People used to say that California, Texas and Oklahoma teams were ahead of us, but not any more. We're right with them."
Schelhouse pointed to the strong play of fellow Glen Burnie teams Wagner's and Tangerine Machine.
Lee Mallonee (Glen Burnie) had the decisive RBI as state champion Wagner's improved to 2-1 by downing Richmond, Mich., 2-0, before ending its tournament with a 1-0 loss to the Caseyettes of Arizona.
Sheridan remained strong to the end despite pitching all four games after knee surgery left Kristy Zulka of Northeast, The Sun's 1990 Player of the Year, unavailable.
Tournament co-host Tangerine Machine of Glen Burnie was eliminated by losses to Columbus, Ohio, 5-4 on Wednesday, and the Oregon I-5 Bandits, 1-0 on Friday.
"The Machine was the only [Maryland] team that didn't win a game, but they played tough," Schelhouse said. "It's pretty obvious that we didn't do bad -- not bad at all."
Maryland's fourth entry in the tournament, being played at Columbia's Centennial and Cedar Lane parks, is Frederick's Lewistown Tigers.