Chesapeake-AA to play for 4A title

Northeast's Brown throws three-hitter in win over Franklin

Hammond advances

Softball

May 23, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

Chesapeake-Anne Arundel sophomore pitcher Lauren Gibson will tell you she has plenty of confidence in every glove around her.

But in last night's Class 4A state semifinal game against Sherwood, taking matters into her own right arm worked out very well, too.

Protecting a one-run lead, Gibson got a key strikeout to end a threat in the sixth inning and then struck out the side in the seventh, sending the No. 2 Cougars (22-3) to their second straight state championship game with a 3-2 win over the Warriors from Montgomery County at Bachman Sports Complex.

Senior outfielder Brooke Owen, whose single in the East regional title game drove in the winning run to beat Broadneck, 2-1, hit a sharp single up the middle to score two in a three-run second inning. After Sherwood cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth, Gibson proved to be the difference. The Cougars will take on Damascus - a 10-0 winner over Eleanor Roosevelt in the other semifinal - Friday or Saturday at University of Maryland.

Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger said a big factor was that the Cougars had been there before, falling to C. Milton Wright, 3-2, in last year's title game.

"We've been working like crazy with Lauren on keeping her nerves in check and trusting her stuff. And she's done an excellent job with that," Ellenberger said. "I think last year being here and knowing they haven't been in awhile paid the biggest dividends today. It helped us all get our nerves under control and get settled in from the start."

Class 3A

No. 8 Northeast 5, Franklin 0 -- Senior outfielder Christina Littleton, sophomore pitcher Heather Brown and junior second baseman Autumn Herrin each had two hits and Brown tossed a three-hitter as the Eagles (17-6) will go after their 10th state championship this weekend at University of Maryland. The Eagles will take on defending champ Huntingtown - a 5-0 winner over Linganore in the other semifinal - Friday or Saturday. Littleton's bloop single over shortstop in the bottom of the second inning gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead, which proved more than enough for Brown. Mixing her pitches and getting ahead in the count, Brown finished with 10 strikeouts to improve to 14-4.

Class 2A

No. 5 Hammond 5, Century 0 -- Sophomore pitcher Stephanie Speierman allowed two hits and finished with 15 strikeouts - giving her a state public school record 408 for the season - as the Bears (22-1) advanced to the state title game for the first time. Senior center fielder Jessica Purdy hit a two-run single to spark a four-run second inning, and freshman catcher Katie McCarthy went 3-for-3 with a double and run scored to lead the Bears offense. "It was another great effort by Stephanie and our bats were really working today. We're on a roll right now - everybody in the lineup is contributing," said Hammond coach Richard Pond. Hammond will take on North East of Cecil County in the state championship game set for Friday or Saturday at University of Maryland.

North East-Cecil 5, Hereford 0 -- Junior Katie Ferguson threw a one-hitter to lead the Indians of Cecil County past Hereford. The Bulls, who got a double from senior shortstop Christine Wallick, finished the season with a 13-9 mark, capturing their second regional title in four years. Despite yesterday's loss, Hereford coach Sam Bowen was pleased with the season, particularly the playoff run that included a regional semifinal win over Eastern Tech. "I'm very happy with the way we played. The girls played hard, always encouraged each other and came together as a team," said Bowen.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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