Towson put runners into scoring position in three of the first four innings. But the Generals came up empty each time.
Then came the fifth inning.
Jessica Clerkin, Katherine Bevans and Molly Simmons each had RBI singles in the five-run fifth inning, and Jessica Owens threw a two-hitter and struck out 10 to lift host and top-seeded Towson to a 5-0 victory over fourth-seeded Aberdeen in a Class 2A, North Region semifinal yesterday.
Towson (13-4) advances to the region final at 1 p.m. tomorrow at home against Elkton, a 9-4 winner over Fallston in the other semifinal. The Generals won the region title last year but lost in the state semifinal to North East of Cecil County.
The Generals put pressure on Aberdeen (9-8) from the beginning. They got two hits in the first inning, but had a runner thrown out trying to steal.
In the second, the Generals loaded the bases with two outs, but couldn't score. An error helped Towson put a runner on second to start the fourth -- but they came up empty again.
"It just seems that we've been doing this all year -- waiting until the last minute," said Towson coach Paul Becker. "I can tell when they've got things under control."
Towson took control in the fifth. Clerkin broke the scoreless tie with a single to center. Bevans knocked in a run with a single to right, and Simmons had an RBI single to center. The Generals also got a run on a wild pitch and one more on a throwing error.
That was more than enough for Owens (7-1), who has struck out 95 in 61 innings. She only allowed singles in the first and seventh.
Owens kept her fastball low and mixed in a good change-up to keep the Aberdeen batters off-balance. Jackie Elliott singled to start the game, and, after a fly out in the second, Aberdeen did not get another ball out of the infield.
"I felt slow, but it was moving," said Owens. "I knew I had good defense behind me."
Towson made three errors, two on one play, but the Generals made several good plays. The best came on the game's final play when first baseman Katie Walker made a diving stop and tagged first on her knees.
Fielding, however, hurt Aberdeen and undercut a strong effort ,, from pitcher Elliott. The senior allowed two hits through four innings -- and seven overall -- but six Aberdeen errors cost her.
"I have a young team," said Aberdeen coach Janie Anderson-Robinson. "It was a good ballgame until that inning."