Northeast was coming off a difficult extra-inning loss to Severna Park and had top-ranked Arundel up next. It was sophomore pitcher Rachel Herrick's task to get things turned around.
After some early run support, Herrick pitched out of a fifth-inning, bases-loaded jam as the No. 2 Eagles came away with a 3-2 win over Arundel in Gambrills.
After driving in what turned out to be the game-winning run with a single to center in the third, Herrick saved her best for the mound in the pivotal fifth inning.
The Wildcats (11-2) had scored twice to cut the lead to 3-2, and still had the bases loaded with one out and their cleanup and No. 5 hitters coming up.
Herrick got Alexis Viera to pop out and then Bre Kitchen grounded out to second to end the threat.
"This feels good because we needed this win," said Herrick, who improved to 4-0. "I was a little nervous in the middle there, but I tried to stay calm and do what I had to do."
The Eagles (11-2) have been using three starting pitchers with senior standouts Stacy Smith and Deana Benner leading the rotation.
A big game, hot opponent and in need of a rebound win, coach Marianne Shultz had no problem giving the ball to Herrick.
"In the fifth, a few balls dropped in, but she kept her composure," said Shultz. "She worked hard to get there, so it was a situation where you have to dig deep down and see what happens."
The Eagles, who left 12 runners on base in their 3-2, 10-inning loss to No. 4 Severna Park on Monday, talked about getting some early runs yesterday against Arundel and they did just that.
Rene Mrowcczynski hit a liner up the middle for a one-out single in the first and scored one out later, with two Arundel errors helping.
Renee Springston had a run-scoring single in the second to make it 2-0 and Herrick (two singles) did the same in the third.
"We made a couple of mistakes early that cost us. But we had opportunities, bases loaded with the middle of the order and one out -- I'll take those chances," said Arundel coach Paul Yannuzzi. "It was a good game and we played hard, but didn't get the win -- no big deal."
Herrick, mixing drops and screwballs with an inside fastball, allowed five hits, three coming in the Wildcats' two-run fifth.
Arundel pitcher Soraya Grace didn't allow a hit after the third inning. Emily Walther had two singles for the Wildcats.
Pub Date: 4/23/99