C.M. Wright claims 4A

Two runs in 7th top Chesapeake-AA, give Mustangs third title

C. Milton Wright 4 Chesapeake-AA 3



College Park -- The C. Milton Wright softball team had a chance to win a state title last spring and fell one game short. The No. 4 Mustangs must have learned from the experience.

With two runs in the bottom of the seventh, C. Milton Wright got past No. 2 Chesapeake of Anne Arundel, 4-3, for the Class 4A state crown at College Park last night.

Sophomore shortstop Allison Kuchar scored the game-winning run on a groundout by senior catcher Katie McCauley to give the Mustangs their third state title.

With one out and the Cougars infield playing in, McCauley hit a short grounder to second baseman Kelly Hickman, whose throw to home plate was just late as Kuchar slid under the tag of catcher Samantha Dulski to send the Mustangs' side in an uproar.

"It's just been part of the nature of this team to have a tremendous amount of tenacity in these situations," C. Milton Wright coach Joe Dunch said. "If I looked calm standing over [by third base], it was because I was. I honestly thought that we had a great shot at the very end because we had the right people up."

C. Milton Wright, who last season lost, 6-1, to Huntingtown in the state final, completes its season with a 24-2 mark as junior pitcher Chelsea Funk allowed three hits to get the win. The Cougars, who started four freshmen, two sophomores and just one senior, ended their season at 23-3.

Kuchar, who had a sharp single up the middle to reach base before scoring the game-winner, couldn't have asked for a better ending.

"As soon as the ball was hit, I knew I had to go as hard as I could," she said. "It was the best feeling in the world. I never cried before being happy, until now."

Chesapeake took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second when Erika Stasch hit a run-scoring triple and then scored on the play when right fielder Nikki Hartner had trouble getting the ball back in the infield.

The Mustangs responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning as Lisa West hit a two-run single over second base.

After the Cougars scored an unearned run in the third to take a 3-2 lead, the score stayed that way until the Mustangs' final at-bat.

Katie Kolb hit a one-out single over first base before Kuchar followed with her single. The two moved up to second and third on a wild pitch. Kaitlyn Neal then hit a sharp come-backer to Cougar pitcher Lauren Gibson, who threw to third to try to get Kolb leaning. But Gibson's throw got away from third baseman Alexis Matula to bring home Kolb and tie the score at 3. McCauley then followed with the grounder that brought home Kuchar and the title.

"I think we thought we had it in the bag and we didn't stay focused long enough to the job," Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger said.


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