Title tilts to Fallston for first time

3rd-ranked Cougars upset No. 1 Severna Park, 3-1, in 8-inning pitchers' duel

Class 3A state softball

May 29, 2004|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - A lively pack of Fallston seniors danced their way to the pitcher's circle, first taking a good, long, gratifying look at their new prize and then hoisting the school's first Class 3A softball championship plaque for everyone to see.

The No. 3 Cougars needed eight innings yesterday to get the better of defending champion and No. 1 Severna Park, 3-1, at the Terrapin Softball Center at the University of Maryland.

They needed aggressive work on the bases from senior center fielder Jackie Fowler; a breakthrough triple from senior catcher Stephanie Schultz and, most of all, a surgeon-like performance from senior pitcher Kirsten Wells.

"For the seniors, a lot of us have been on varsity three and four years - and we've been working our hearts out this year. We knew this was the last time we could do it, so we just pulled together and we did it," Wells said.

The Cougars closed out the season 23-1, capturing Harford County and North regional titles and saving their best for yesterday by outlasting defending champion Severna Park (21-4).

Keeping the ball down and just off the outside corner, Wells surrendered just two hits to come away with the win in a classic pitching duel against Severna Park sophomore standout Kaila Jenkins.

Scoreless through seven innings, it was the Cougars who looked like the defending champions in the eighth with the international rule in play that places a runner on second base at the start of each extra inning.

Fowler was that runner. When she took off for third on the first pitch to Schultz in the top of the eighth, she didn't stop until she crossed home plate as Severna Park shortstop Katie Purcell didn't get to third in time to cover the throw from catcher Erin O'Keefe.

Schultz followed with a triple, scored one out later on a single from Caitlin Stein. And after a single from Kim Ziegler moved Stein to third, she came in on a single from Allison Borchers to make it 3-0. The Falcons got one run back in the bottom of the inning, but Wells got Purcell to ground out to Ziegler at short with the tying run on.

"It's disappointing," said Jenkins, who scattered two hits in the first seven innings before yielding four in the eighth. "I think they came out in that eighth aggressive and got that run. They hustled and the element of surprise was great. They did what they needed to do and the ball rolled their way. And they just kept going after that."

Schultz talked about the A-plus game she received from Wells, the season-long grind and making sure everyone was having fun yesterday.

"I think our greatest accomplishment was taking the difference you have over the course of the season and bringing it all together," she said. "You have to have a good time and it's so much better when you win and have fun at the same time."

F 000 000 03 - 3 6 2

SP 000 000 01 - 1 2 1

Wells and Schultz; Jenkins and O'Keefe. 3B: F-Schultz.

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