Again, Gibson no-hitter in final

Pitcher repeats on big stage as Cougars take home seventh championship

Softball Class 4A state final

No. 2 Chesapeake-AA 7 Sherwood 0

May 25, 2008|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Sun Reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- It's safe to say junior pitcher Lauren Gibson and the Chesapeake-Anne Arundel softball team have the Class 4A state championship game all figured out.

For the second straight year, Gibson threw a no-hitter in the season's biggest game, leading the No. 2 Cougars to a 7-0 victory over Sherwood of Montgomery County last night at the University of Maryland.

Erika Stasch went 3-for-4 with two triples and five RBIs for Chesapeake, which closed out its season with a 24-2 record and captured the program's seventh state championship. Sherwood, which was making its first state title game appearance, ended its season 18-3.

Throwing her changeup for strikes and in command of her other pitches, Gibson finished with 11 strikeouts.

As the Cougars were lined up to receive their championship plaques, Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger sarcastically yelled to his ace, "Hey Gibson, start to improve some."

Any improvement last night would have meant perfection for Gibson, who allowed one base runner - a fifth-inning walk to Sherwood first baseman Kathy Holonich.

"I feel really comfortable in this environment now," said Gibson, who pitched in her third straight state final. "The first year I came, I was a little nervous. I was a freshman and it was a big game, with a lot of people and a lot of noise. Now I've gotten used to everything, so it's easier. It feels amazing knowing we've been here three years in a row, and winning the last two is a great accomplishment."

Stasch, a senior center fielder, provided most of the offense for the Cougars last night. In the top of the second inning, she hit a two-out, bases-loaded triple to deep right field against Sherwood pitcher Erin McMakin, giving the Cougars a 3-0 lead.

"We were all pumped up for the game, and the bases were loaded, so I knew [McMakin] was going to give me something to hit, so I was ready. I just wanted to do it for the team," Stasch said.

Gibson got some strong defensive support to protect her no-hitter. Stasch made a diving catch in the third; freshman catcher Gabby Couture snared a bunt that popped up in front of the plate, also in the third; and Gibson helped herself in the seventh by bare-handing a dribbler down the third base line.

After avenging their only two losses of the season with a 10-6 win over No. 3 Brodneck in the East regional final, the Cougars reached the state final with an 11-4 victory over Linganore in the semifinals.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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