Owen's hit in 7th earns regional title for Chesapeake-AA

Senior's single tops Broadneck in 4A East

No. 3 Chesapeake-AA 2 No. 2 Broadneck 1

Softball

May 19, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

All-Metro senior outfielder Brooke Owen has had plenty of key at-bats covering her four-year career at Chesapeake of Anne Arundel County.

None, Owen will tell you, brought more nerves than when she stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning of last night's Class 4A East regional title game against No. 2 Broadneck.

Owen hit a sharp single past third base, bringing home pinch runner Samantha Pettie from third to send the third-ranked Cougars to the state semifinals with a thrilling, 2-1 win over the Bruins at Randazzo Park.

The Cougars (21-3) avenged two 2-1 losses to the Bruins (19-3) this season - the second in last week's county championship game - in advancing to play Sherwood in a semifinal set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bachman Park.

For Owen, it was just a matter of focusing on the task at hand.

"With all the fans cheering and the coaches yelling - yes, there was a lot of pressure. I was just looking to put the ball in play. It was a great feeling," Owen said.

"I think this time we were more prepared and more focused on getting the win."

It was the third classic pitching duel between Chesapeake sophomore Lauren Gibson and Broadneck freshman sensation Kourtney Salvarola.

Last night, it was the Cougars' turn to make the most of the ample opportunities with a manufactured run to break the tie.

Senior catcher Samantha Dulski, who singled to start the five-run third-inning rally to beat North County in Thursday's regional semifinal, led off with another sharp single to left field.

Pettie came in to run and stole second base with one out. Third baseman Alexis Matula followed with a bunt that Salvarola fielded but couldn't make a play on because nobody covered first. That put Pettie on third and set the stage for Owen, who pulled an outside pitch past third for the win.

"I just told her to put the ball in play, trust yourself and give us a chance, and it worked out for us this time. It's great to see a senior who has been here for four years come through like that," said Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger.

"Broadneck had a great season. They were a thorn in our side all season and you just knew it was going to be another 2-1 game."

Gibson allowed just three hits in getting the win, striking out 12, including two in the third inning when the Bruins left the bases loaded after taking a 1-0 lead. Salvarola allowed five hits.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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