Hebron takes fall in final

May 28, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

It would have been like a wild card winning the Super Bowl.

No. 7 Mount Hebron came from the fourth seed in its region and the fourth seed in the final four into last night's Class 3A championship.

The Vikings (14-7) played well, but second-seeded Thomas Johnson (19-3) clobbered them with 10 hits, including four extra-base knocks to take an 8-2 victory for the state Class 3A championship last night at Randazzo Park in Severn.

But the Vikings felt they gained something just by their appearance in the title game.

"Sure we're disappointed, but no one expected us to get this far," said Vikings pitcher Jenny Joyce. "We've gained the respect that we need in our county, in our school, in softball and in the press. I think that's what we needed."

Mount Hebron finished fourth in Howard County before taking off on its incredible run through the playoffs. A 4-3 semifinal win over top-seeded Bel Air was the Vikings' fifth straight win.

"I'm so proud of them," said first-year coach Eric Aronowsky.

"They came a long way. Nothing was expected of them. They came together and won the region, which was amazing. They're in the state championship, which is unbelievable. Great job, great season, but they came up against a very tough team."

Hebron's two runs came in the sixth inning when Sara Eberhart blasted a two-run homer that rolled all the way to the wall, 280 feet in right field.

By then, the Vikings already trailed by eight runs.

In winning their first state title, the Patriots ran up an 8-0 lead in the first four innings. Only one run was unearned.

The Vikings gave up three runs in the first inning on three bunt singles, three stolen bases, a walk and Melissa Welty's scorching line-drive double off third baseman Kristen Milio's glove.

Milio, playing in against the bunt, barely had time to react, deflecting the ball away from her face deep into foul territory. nTC Welty ended up stranded at third when Heather Lach grounded out to second baseman Deanne Breithaupt.

Joyce (14-7, 1.26 ERA) turned up the heat in the second inning, striking out the side on 10 pitches, but the Patriots came right back for two more runs in the third.

Thomas Johnson added three more in the fourth, including two on Becky Phillips' triple to right.

After left fielder Becky Miller made a spectacular twisting grab on a fly ball over her head, Joyce retired the next six batters. But the Vikings, who managed just five hits off Julie Blake (18-3, 1.14 ERA), went down in order in the seventh.

The Vikings managed two hits in a single inning only in the third. With one out, Miller lined a single to left field. Megan Christensen followed with a shot through the hole past the Patriots' second baseman playing close to first to cover on a bunt.

Miller tried for third on the play, but right fielder Lach gunned a perfect throw to nail Miller sliding into third.

"She tried to make something happen and that's fine," said Aronowsky. "We needed some breaks. We had to take some chances to make some things happen. We were down 5-0. They just made a good play. It had to be perfect in order to get her and it was."

After that, the Vikings stranded single runners in the fourth and fifth innings. Although they hit the ball well, they often hit it right at the Patriots, who played errorless ball.

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