Ten innings of drama ended on softball's most boring play, the base on balls, as No. 6 Severna Park upset No. 2 Arundel, 6-5, in the first round of the 4A East Region playoffs.
The host Falcons (13-7) took advantage of two Wildcat errors and Stephanie Donaldson's bases-loaded walk to score two runs in the bottom of the 10th. Severna Park advances to a quarterfinal game at defending state champion Northern of Calvert County on Monday.
Northern, a two-time winner over the Falcons by 2-1 and 8-6 this season, drew the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.
"How's that for excitement," said losing coach Paul Yannuzzi.
His counterpart, Falcons coach Wayne Mook added, "everybody got their money's worth."
The two coaches were referring to both teams' enduring efforts. Every time county co-champion (with Glen Burnie) Arundel (16-5) would score, the Falcons would answer in the same inning.
Kim Gonski's double to left-center scored Katy House to give Arundel a 5-4 lead in the top of the 10th.
Freshman Amanda Donaldson came on for Falcons starting pitcher Christy Huber and got the next three outs.
After Kara Kitchen (eight hits, six walks and eight strikeouts), who went all the way for Arundel, struck out Meredith McAlister to start the last of the 10th, Amanda Donaldson drilled her second double of the game on a 3-2 pitch. Lauryn McAlister reached on an error, sending Donaldson to third.
Beth Neuberger walked to load the bases and bring up backup catcher Tara Tate.
Tate's infield grounder resulted in the second out on a close force play at the plate when Amanda Donaldson came in standing up. A Kim Davis grounder was booted to tie the score at 5 and Kitchen walked Stephanie Donaldson on a 3-1 pitch for the winning run.
"Before the game we had a rah-rah type speech and I told the girls that people only remember who won in the playoffs and not regular season," said Mook, whose team took the last two from Arundel after losing a one-run game in eight innings in their first meeting.
Arundel started with three first-inning runs off Huber, with rTC Kitchen and Maria Drury getting RBI singles and the other run scoring on a wild pitch.
The Falcons answered with three runs in their initial at-bat. Amanda Donaldson doubled in a pair and Neuberger's single to center scored Donaldson to tie.
Arundel got the leadoff batter on in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but couldn't get the clutch hit to win it in regulation.
Arundel got its fifth in the eighth when Katy House singled and eventually scored on Ruth Wilson's two-out single to center.
Lauryn McAlister tripled to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and Amanda Donaldson's booming fly to left easily tied the game.