Northeast gets 1 hit, falls to Huntingtown

Calvert County team wins 3rd title in row

Huntingtown 4 No. 8 Northeast 0

Softball Class 3A state final

May 26, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

COLLEGE PARK -- Northeast's bid to add to the softball program's nine state titles fell one game short last night in a determined effort against a Huntingtown team that was primed to defend its Class 3A crown.

Up against the two-time defending state champions from Calvert County, the No. 8 Eagles weren't able to solve senior pitcher Kerry Hickey, who threw a one-hitter and also provided the game's big blast - a two-run homer - to lead the Hurricanes to a 4-0 win at the University of Maryland's softball complex.

Northeast coach Marianne Shultz is stepping down after 14 seasons at the school to focus on her position as athletic director. She compiled a 227-79 mark with one state crown and two other state championship game appearances.

Her dedication to the program didn't go unnoticed.

"Coach Shultz has really been a great coach for us," senior shortstop Lindsey Gray said. "When we didn't believe in ourselves, she always had confidence in us. You go up to the plate and look at her and she says, `Nobody better is up there.' She's always wanted the best for us."

Huntingtown, in its third year of varsity play, has won a title every season and finished the season 22-1.

The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth when the Hurricanes scored four runs on five hits. Hickey gave Huntingtown all it needed with a two-run homer over the left-field fence for a 2-0 lead. Rebecka Morgan later added a two-run double.

Hickey, who is heading to Maryland, has not allowed an earned run in 48 consecutive games, covering two-plus seasons.

The Eagles threatened in the bottom of the fourth when senior center fielder Jill Mullan started the inning with a bunt single, the Eagles' only hit. After an infield error put runners on first and second with no outs, Hickey got three straight strikeouts to end the threat.

To coach on the season's last day was especially rewarding for Shultz, who first began playing the sport when she was knee high. The Eagles (19-7) came back from a 1-0 deficit at Centennial with three runs in the sixth inning to capture the East regional title, 3-1, and then beat Franklin, 5-0, earlier in the week to reach the title game.

"It's been emotional, it's been exciting and it's been challenging - especially in the beginning of the season," Shultz said. "We had some positions graduate, so coming in, you're very excited about the season, but then you've also got to find the right people to fill in the holes.'

Moving Gray from second base to shortstop and bringing in Autumn Herrin from the outfield to second base, helped bring the pieces together with sophomore pitcher Heather Brown coming into her own to make the extended playoff run.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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