With the score tied at 1 in the bottom of the seventh inning in Tuesday night's Class 3A state semifinal at Bachman Softball Park in Anne Arundel County, No. 7 Howard's Danielle Schiavone roped a single to left field that sent Brea Curley sprinting home from second base.
C. Milton Wright left fielder Jessica Canami charged the ball and fired a strike to catcher Nicole McClaskey, who applied the tag just before Curley could reach the plate. The Mustangs then scored twice in the eighth and held on for the 3-2 victory. C. Milton Wright plays Northern on Friday in search of its sixth state championship and first since 2006.
"It was just all adrenaline," Canami said about the throw. "I knew she was going so I came up firing. I knew I had to get her out. It was incredible. I can't even describe it."
Each team was buoyed by a dominant sophomore pitcher. Howard's Kensey O'Neill pitched eight innings, allowing three hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. The Mustangs' Brittany Stein struck out four, scattering seven hits and no walks.
After Howard (19-3) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on two errors, C. Milton Wright tied it in the fourth on an RBI single by Jessica Lucas. In extra innings, each team begins its at-bat with a runner on second base. C. Milton Wright (23-2) used bunts by Alicia McMahon and Lindsay Resnik to manufacture two runs for a 3-1 lead. Howard pulled within a run in the bottom half of the eighth on a single by Sage McGrann. However, the Lions could not score again with the bases loaded.
"That's the way this team has played all year," C. Milton Wright coach Russ Kovach said. "When we get down, we battle. When we're ahead, we try to hold it. We made some mistakes, but we recovered from it and made the plays we needed."
C 000 100 02 — 3 3 4
H 010 000 01 — 2 7 4
H—O'Neill and Frick; C—Stein and McClaskey.