As the announcement came declaring No. 5 Broadneck the Anne Arundel County softball champion last night at Randazzo Park, there was a brief hesitation before four teammates scurried up to collect the plaque.
It was unfamiliar territory for the Bruins, who were making their first championship game appearance. But their poised play in coming away with a 2-1 win over No. 3 Chesapeake looked nothing like a first-time group's.
Broadneck improved to 17-2 and the Cougars fell to 18-3 as the teams now prepare for the Class 4A East region playoffs.
Freshman pitcher Kourtney Salvarola proved to be a catalyst on the mound, at the plate and on the bases, while senior right fielder Kayla Dice provided the big late-inning hit. Her sharp single in the top of the sixth scored Salvarola, who pitched a five-hitter and shut down the Cougars in the sixth and seventh to clinch the crown.
"We were definitely not expected to win and I think we proved a lot today. It feels amazing. I'm just so proud of the team right now," said Salvarola, who reached base on a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error to start the sixth.
From there, Dice drove Salvarola home on a first-pitch single up the middle.
With the game tied at 1 in the fifth, the Cougars had a chance to take the lead as senior outfielder Brooke Owen was on third with two outs. But she didn't try to go home on Gibson's two-out chopper to short that was an infield single. Salvarola then got Angela Yannone to ground out to end the threat.
Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger said: "I'll take the blame on that one," and also complimented Broadneck. The Bruins beat his Cougars, 2-1, during the regular season as well.
"They've pulled through and they've been the pressure ballclub, so my hat goes off to Broadneck. They're the best team right now," he added.
To see a photo gallery from this game, go to baltimoresun.com/softball