Heavy rains washed away the championship rounds of yesterday's North County Holiday Tournament, but they couldn't dampen Old Mill's enthusiasm.
The Patriots' softball team was one out away from dropping to the consolation game in Division I, but rallied for four unearned runs to shock No. 2 Archbishop Spalding, 4-3.
North County upset No. 6 Arundel, 9-3, in the other semifinal game in Division I, but never got a chance to play No. 3 Old Mill for the title after a light shower turned into a downpour. Spalding was leading Arundel, 6-0, in the top of the fifth inning in the consolation round.
In the Division II semifinals, No. 15 Glen Burnie scored twice in the fourth inning to break a 3-3 tie and defeat No. 12 North Carroll, 5-3. The Gophers were supposed to play Institute of Notre Dame, which won its first game by forfeit after Frederick dropped out of the tournament, before the rain intensified and turned the fields at Randazzo Park into a muddy mess.
Arundel was a late replacement for Bellfonte (Pa.), which returned home Saturday after the tournament was postponed because of inclement weather.
Old Mill (2-0) is glad it stuck around.
"I wish we could say we practiced that," coach Lori Darnall said of her team's dramatic comeback. "I thought I'd be saying it was too little, too late, but they kept hitting."
And Spalding (3-1) kept making crucial errors.
Cavaliers junior pitcher Rachel Synowski had a perfect game through five innings, and a one-hitter going into the bottom of the seventh. Leading 3-0, she retired the first two batters on grounders hit back to the mound, but senior shortstop Christine Baer doubled to left to keep Old Mill alive.
Baer advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a dropped fly ball. Junior Amanda Kopchinski singled to left to score Baer, and moved to second on the relay home. Senior Melissa Maisch grounded to short, but the throw skipped past the first baseman, tying the game at 3.
Pitcher Karen Jacobson capped the rally with a bloop single to left that scored the winning run.
"I had lost hope a little bit, but then everybody started hitting," said Jacobson, who allowed her first earned runs in two years when Spalding scored once in the first inning and twice in the seventh. She gave up three hits and struck out eight.
Synowski still hasn't given up an earned run in six starts over the last two seasons.
Spalding's Nicole Trumpler had doubled in two runs in the seventh for a 3-0 lead, after Jacobson had issued her first two walks in two years. Freshman Crystal Henderson singled and later scored on a bunt by junior Kathleen Legg in the first inning for a 1-0 lead that appeared safe with Synowski on the mound.
"These are crucial games for us because we rarely get to play outside the [Catholic] league. We've got to win these," said Spalding coach Jim Nemeth.
"Old Mill is a good team. They didn't let up. We thought we had them."
Spalding (3-1) was having a much easier time with Arundel in the consolation round. The Wildcats began the year ranked No. 3, but have gone 0-3 and were headed for their fourth loss when the game was called.
North County was hoping to get its first win after three straight losses, and the Knights did just that by rolling past the Wildcats. Sophomore pitcher Jamie Yewell blanked Arundel through six innings, before the Wildcats finally broke through.
"We got the monkey off our back," said North County coach Sue Fitchett. "We needed something like this so the girls could gain confidence."
Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino was anxious to play some games after being sidetracked repeatedly by poor weather. His team barely completed its win over Class 3A power North Carroll yesterday before having to run for cover.
"This was only our second game and we really wanted to get in a doubleheader," said Broccolino. "I'm glad we could at least get one game in."