A combination of timely hitting, heads-up base running and clutch pitching helped visiting Severna Park claim a 3-1 victory in yesterday's Anne Arundel County 4A League matchup with No. 6 Old Mill.
Severna Park sophomore windmiller Christy Huber provided the clutch pitching for the No. 4 Falcons as she struck out 11 and gave up only two hits. Huber's only real scars in the scorebook were the seven walks she yielded, but the way she stranded Patriots runners faded even that blemish.
Seven of Huber's strikeouts came with runners on base and five with runners in scoring position.
"Give credit to Huber because she struck people out when she had to," said Old Mill coach Lori Darnall, after watching her team fall to 10-4.
"We had people on base, but we couldn't get them around because we all struck out.
"They've heard it time and time from me that I can't move you around if all you do is strike out. Who knows whether or not we can beat them because we never hit them the ball.
"I don't know whether [Severna Park] can field or not."
The Falcons didn't waste any time in showing the Patriots that they can manufacture runs.
Sophomore catcher Lauryn McAlister (2-for-4) started things off with a single and was replaced on first by Melissa Snyder, who hit into a fielder's choice.
Snyder stole second on the ensuing pitch from Old Mill freshman Jen Bernard and was singled home by senior Jen Avent (2-for-3, double).
The Patriots, who defeated Annapolis and Southern last week by a combined score of 35-2, had the bases loaded with one out in their half of the first inning after Huber hit a batter and walked two others, but Huber ended the threat by striking out the last two batters.
"Christy fell behind but she kept on battling," said Severna Park coach Wayne Mook.
"She knows that she's going to pitch every game from here on out and she knows that it all rests on her shoulders."
Severna Park (11-3), which has won three in a row and four of its last five, added its second run in the fifth inning when Alli Adams hit a leadoff single, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Snyder.
Old Mill found itself back within striking distance after Lauren Spears' sacrifice fly scored Brandi Pennington in the fifth inning to make it 2-1.
However, the Falcons capitalized on two errors and a wild pitch in the sixth inning to cut the margin to two again.
"I thought we hit the ball pretty well today," Mook said.
"We got some people on base and we got them around. We knew Old Mill had the ability to come back because they rallied back twice against Chesapeake.
"I told my kids, 'You just have to keep going until the umpire calls the last out,' and we just kept grinding."