Chesapeake coach Dennis Thiele said senior pitcher Lori Congdon should be peaking once the playoffs begin later this month.
With a 5-0 record and five shutouts, Congdon doesn't have far to go.
Yesterday, she didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning, and the top-ranked Cougars won their 30th straight game, 3-0, over No. 6 and visiting Severna Park.
Chesapeake (11-0) broke a scoreless tie with two unearned runs in the fifth inning off Severna Park freshman Christy Huber. A walk and stolen base from Tracy Starke and a two-out single by Michelle Manner scored another run in the sixth.
That was plenty for Congdon, whose bid for a no-hitter ended when Megan Smith led off the seventh with a single up the middle. Amy Senger followed with a single to right, putting runners on first and second and placing Congdon in her first jam of the game.
After Thiele visited the mound, Congdon struck out Jen Spampinato and Amy Patton on risers. Smith moved to third on an errant pickoff throw from catcher Natalie Black, but she was stranded when Congdon struck out Christine Winters.
Having missed part of the season with tonsillitis, Congdon usually begins to tire in the later innings. Yesterday, she felt herself wavering in the seventh, "but then I realized, 'Hey, I've got to bear down,' " she said.
"I've been running every night to build up my endurance. I've got to get that back," said Congdon, who struck out 10.
Center fielder Melissa Snyder was the only batter for Severna Park (8-2) to reach base against Congdon before the seventh inning, on a two-out error in the fifth. But Black threw out Snyder trying to steal second, with shortstop Jamie Long making a nice catch and off-balance tag.
The Cougars left the bases loaded in the third, and stranded runners at the corners in the fourth, before breaking through against Huber.
The rally started with a one-out bunt single by Stacey Necessary, who stole second on Huber's next pitch. An error and stolen base put runners on second and third, and a wild pitch brought home the first run.
Another error scored Manner, and the Cougars later loaded the bases with two outs on a walk and a bunt single by Congdon. But Huber struck out Michele Singer to end the inning.
Huber finished with a six-hitter, walking three and striking out nine.
"We had people on base most of the game, but we just didn't get the hit at that precise moment when we wanted it," said Thiele, whose team is seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive 4A state championship.