Chesapeake-AA moved within a game of wrapping up its third consecutive state softball championship, routing Springbrook, 11-0, in last night's Class 4A semifinoals at Randazzo Park.
Junior catcher Natalie Black knocked in four runs for the top-seeded Cougars (19-1), who broke the game open with an eight-run fourth inning. They'll meet Frederick, a 6-1 winner over La Plata in the other semifinal, in Friday's championship game at 8:30 p.m. at Randazzo Park.
Chesapeake scored the only run it Softball
needed in the first inning on a Tracy Starke walk and stolen base, a Stacey Necessary bunt single and a wild pitch. The Cougars added another run in the third and sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth.
Junior pitcher Lori Congdon (12-0) went the first five innings, giving up one hit and striking out 11. Senior Kristin Spak pitched two hitless innings in relief. Springbrook (15-4) left-hander Cristie Ritz allowed all 11 runs on 13 hits.
"There was the potential for this type of game," said Chesapeake coach Dennis Thiele. "We've done it before with the big inning. We made our own situations on the field and took charge."
The Cougars have won 18 straight since a 2-0 loss to North County on April 1. A victory Friday will give Chesapeake four state titles in the last five years.
Calvert ended Centennial's dream of an unbeaten season and a state title by beating Centennial ace Jodi Meitl and the fourth-ranked Eagles, 4-1, in the state Class 3A semifinal yesterday at Randazzo Park.
Aberdeen's season also came to an end in yesterday's Class 3A semifinals at Randazzo Park, as Seneca Valley beat the Eagles, 4-1. Seneca Valley (15-2) and Calvert (18-3) will meet at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Randazzo Park in the championship game.
Calvert produced all four runs in the third inning on three hits, a walk and three Centennial errors. Melanie Goucher hit her fourth homer of the season and the first off Meitl, who pitched all but three innings for Centennial (19-1) this season.
"I was throwing hard, but they hit everything," Meitl said.
Aberdeen (14-5) also ran into a tough pitcher, as Seneca Valley scored three runs in the first inning and then relied on the one-hit pitching of Tricia Hunt to make them stand. Hunt struck out eight.
Chesapeake (Baltimore County) and North Carroll were eliminated in the state Class 2A semifinals at Randazzo Park, as Elkton and Damascus both advanced to Friday's state Class 2A final with strong pitching performances. The title game will be played at Randazzo Park at 6 p.m.
Second seed Elkton topped third seed Chesapeake, 10-0, while Damascus (17-0) edged fourth seed North Carroll, 3-1.
Jen Weaver scattered two hits and struck out 11 for Elkton and also had three singles and three RBI.
Top seed Damascus (17-0) struggled against North Carroll, as Marci Whitehead allowed her first earned run of the season in the top of the third to give North Carroll a 1-0 lead. But Damascus answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning and Whitehead went the rest of the way, striking out eight.
Top seed Clear Spring knocked off Owings Mills, 11-1, in the state Class 1A semifinals yesterday at Randazzo Park.
Owings Mills (7-9), the No. 4 seed, could not handle Clear Spring pitching ace Misty Hornbecker, who struck out nine Golden Eagles and walked none.
Clear Spring (17-1) led 2-1 at the end of the third and opened the lead to six with a five-run fourth and then added four more in the fifth.
In the other Class IA semifinal, Bohemia Manor (10-5) of Cecil County pounded Pocomoke (10-5), 17-2, to advance to the 1A title game Friday at 6 p.m. at Randazzo Park.
L Glenn Graham and Mike Jefferson contributed to this article.