Chesapeake advances past Severna Park dramatically

May 20, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Chesapeake's softball team felt right at home yesterday, and not just because the game was taking place in Pasadena.

This was the playoffs. The Class 4A East Region semifinals. The top-seeded Cougars' day to shine, even when the outlook was at its bleakest.

The four-time defending state champions cleared No. 4 seed Severna Park from their path in dramatic fashion, scoring once in the seventh inning and again in the eighth for a 2-1 victory.

No. 2 Chesapeake, 17-2 and winners of five in a row, will meet Northern-Calvert in tomorrow's region final. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m., but coach Dennis Thiele hopes to move it to 11 a.m. because of Chesapeake's prom.

This is a rematch of last year's state-title game, when the Cougars scored in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory.

The No. 5 Falcons (14-5) were trying to avenge last year's loss to Chesapeake in the region final, but a couple of late mistakes wouldn't allow it.

Sophomore Christy Huber had limited Chesapeake to two hits through six innings. Pinch-hitter Katie Ochs led off the seventh with a double to center field, and Kim Woody walked. Huber got the first out, but Maggie Dziuban hit a slow roller up the middle that second baseman Brianna Weidman bobbled for an error. She threw late to shortstop Alli Adams covering second, and pinch runner Jennifer Davis alertly came around to score.

"I was holding her at third and she was right there within earshot," Thiele said. "I said it kind of low. I said 'go,' because I saw the juggle and I saw they weren't going after the ball. And they never made a play on her."

The Cougars loaded the bases with two outs, but Huber struck out Tami Barrington looking to send the game into extra innings.

Jaime Long retired Severna Park in order in the top of the eighth, and Chesapeake needed three batters to nail down the win.

Long led off with an infield hit. Huber fielded a grounder from Jen Fowlkes and threw to Weidman covering first, but the ball glanced off her glove, putting runners on second and third.

Michele Singer, who had been lifted for Ochs an inning earlier, laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt that rolled under Huber's bare hand as pinch runner Angie Zittle scored.

"At that point, we weren't hitting [Huber] so we had to do a trick, and it worked," Thiele said. "I have to sit back and start evaluating why, when we get into these tough games, that later in the game we seem to refuel and [the opposition] seems to run out of gas. It seems like there's a minor mistake late in the game and we're right there to capitalize on it."

Long gave up four hits, including two by Weidman, and struck out seven. The only run against her came in the third on a walk to Megan Smith, an infield hit by Weidman and a throwing error.

"You know you're going to have to play seven innings as hard as you can, and today we had to play more than that," said Severna Park coach Wayne Mook, whose team had ended Chesapeake's 49-game winning streak on April 22 with a 2-1 victory.

Huber had pitched out of trouble in the fourth after allowing a lead-off single to Barrington and a walk to Long. The Cougars also threatened in the fifth when Sarah Widerman led off with a single and pinch-runner Missy Silvers stole second.

"These girls have been in games like this and they know we'll pull them out," Thiele said. "I told them before, when you go out there, you can lose a couple battles, but you'll win the war. I still believe the mystique of Chesapeake softball is still there."

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