Softball state semifinals

Gibson carries Chesapeake, 11-4

Atholton rolls

May 22, 2008|By Glenn Graham and Mike Frainie

To say Chesapeake's Lauren Gibson had a complete game in her team's Maryland Class 4A state semifinal win would be an understatement. All she did was pitch a complete game while striking out nine and hitting a single, double and triple in the Cougars' 11-4 win over Frederick County's Linganore High at the Bachman Sports Complex.

Second-ranked Chesapeake (23-2), the defending Class 4A champion, will play Montgomery County's Sherwood, a 3-0 winner over Prince George's Eleanor Roosevelt, in the state championship game Saturday at the University of Maryland.

The Cougars took a 5-0 lead and appeared to be in command, but the Lancers had other ideas. Linganore (18-2) shaved the deficit to 5-4 in the fourth before Gibson settled down, stranding a runner on second and holding the lead.

"I knew we still had the lead and I knew we were hitting the snot out of the ball," said Gibson, a junior. "I believe in my teammates, so I knew we'd come back and be OK."

She didn't have to wait long to find out. After right fielder Samantha Pettie singled to begin the inning, Gibson tripled to drive her in and extend the lead to 6-4.

"It's amazing that we're in this position again," Gibson said. "It's very satisfying to return [to the state title game]. Now, hopefully, we can win it again."

Class 3A

No.6 Atholton 8, No. 4 Franklin 1 -- Raiders sophomore pitcher Chelsea Ponce and her older sister, senior second baseman A.J. Ponce, know all about winning state softball championships. Before moving to Maryland this school year, the two teamed to win a state championship last year at Millikan High in California. The two, along with their Atholton teammates, will get a chance Saturday thanks to last night's convincing win over the previously undefeated Indians. Chelsea Ponce went 3-for-4 with a triple, three RBIs and a run scored, and A.J., the Raiders' leadoff hitter, started a four-run first-inning rally with a walk and run scored that set the tone. She reached base three times and scored two runs. The Raiders (17-5) will take on Northern-Calvert - which defeated Damascus in the other semifinal - for the state title Saturday at College Park.

Class 2A

McDonough 3, Century 0 -- McDonough junior pitcher Melanie Mitchell, who has committed orally to play softball at Virginia, limited the Knights to one hit and struck out 17 to lead the Rams, from Charles County, to the state title game with a win in the semifinals. Century, which captured the Carroll County championship and its third straight regional title, finished its season 16-8. Junior catcher Emilie McFarland had the Knights' only base hit, a single in the sixth inning. "I think we did a nice job with four freshmen in the lineup, basically facing a Division I-caliber pitcher. We wanted to keep the game close, and we did that. And we had a good season that sets a foundation for next year," Century coach Jay Seaborg said.

Easton 3, No. 15 Eastern Tech 0 -- The Mavericks (17-5) couldn't overcome a balanced Easton team that will now chase after its fifth state championship. The Warriors, from Talbot County, scored in the first, third and fourth to take charge early and then thwarted a potential Eastern Tech rally in the sixth. With the help of singles from Megan Smith and Lauren Edgerton, the Mavericks had runners on second and third with two outs, but Easton pitcher Ali Schmidt struck out Cassie Anderson to end the threat.

Class 1A

Colonel Richardson 11, No. 14 Western Tech 1 -- Caroline County's Colonel Richardson spotted Western Tech (14-5) a 1-0 lead, then scored the next 11 runs to defeat the Wolverines. Mallory Hagadorn's three-run triple in the fourth led the Colonels (18-4). Colonel Richardson will play Cumberland's Fort Hill, a 7-3 winner over Cecil County's Bohemia Manor in the other semifinal at the University of Maryland on Saturday for the state title.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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