When she's at the plate, Severna Park junior pitcher Kaila Jenkins is at her best when she's a little upset.
Just ask Northeast.
After the visiting Eagles scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning yesterday to tie the game, Jenkins had a quick chance to respond in the bottom of the inning.
She connected on Northeast pitcher Lauren Hart's first pitch with a shot to left-center field to score two runs and send the top-ranked Falcons to a 5-3 win over the No. 6 Eagles in the season opener for both teams.
"I love hitting right after I struggle pitching because I think anger helps me hit; my focus is there more than other times," said Jenkins, who went on to retire six straight Eagles in the final two innings for the win. "Lauren was throwing everything outside all day, so when I saw the inside pitch, I was like `OK, swing.'"
Severna Park took a 3-0 lead in the first inning with a leadoff triple from Jen Haag, a two-out infield error that made all the runs unearned and a run-scoring single from Lindsey Schlegler.
Jenkins and Hart were both dominant on the mound until Northeast was able to break through with three runs in the fifth inning to tie the score at 3. Jill Mullan hit a two-out triple to score the Eagles' first run. Lindsay Gray followed with a sharp run-scoring single up the middle and then scored from second base on Hart's infield single.
Severna Park coach Jeff Shepherd, who has three freshman starters and a first-year varsity sophomore, was pleased with how the Falcons responded.
Alyssa Warco, who hits ninth in the Falcons' order, lined a single up the middle, and one out later, Kristen Wojtowycz got a bunt single to put two runners on for Jenkins, who did the rest with the triple.
"We huddled up, and the kids were absolutely determined to come back after that," Shepherd said. "Warco stepped up, and we got some speed on the bases ... so we were confident, and the top of the lineup came through for us."
Hart, who allowed five hits on the mound, led the Eagles' offense with two singles, while Wojtowycz scored twice for the Falcons. Jenkins allowed five hits and finished with eight strikeouts.