Hyson nearly flawless in sending Chesapeake-AA to 4A final

Pitcher misses perfect game by one pitch in 8-0 win over Montgomery Blair that lifts No. 1 Cougars into final vs. undefeated Urbana

Howard blanks Damascus, 4-0, in 3A semifinal, will face Northern Calvert

May 24, 2011|By Todd Karpovich and Chris Branch, The Baltimore Sun

Chespapeake-Anne Arundel's Megan Hyson was one pitch away from a perfect game in Tuesday's Class 4A state semifinals when Montgomery Blair's Emily Haislip drew a walk.

Hyson briefly walked off the mound, collected herself and struck out the next batter, earning a no-hitter in the top-ranked Cougars' 8-0 victory. Hyson also went 4-for-4 with a home run, setting up a showdown against undefeated Urbana in Saturday's state championship at Maryland.

"It was close, that's all you can ask for. A no-hitter was good enough," said Hyson, who will play at Georgetown next season. "With the defense we have and the hitting, I was confident they wouldn't score. We were pumped up the whole game."

Hyson struck out 16 batters with the one walk. She is 22-0 on the year with an ERA around 0.50.

Hyson gave Chesapeake a 1-0 lead with a first-innng homer to right field, narrowly avoiding a tag at home plate. The Cougars extended the lead to 2-0 on an RBI single by Jacqueline Richards.

The Cougars (23-0) then broke the game open with six runs in the fifth. Gabrielle Couture, Danielle Myers and Olivia Ravadge each tripled to score four runs.

"We feel there's pressure every time we play a game," Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger said. "You never know what's going to happen. We scouted this team a lot, and we knew they were going be doing bunt-slap type things, so we worked on our defense for 21/2 hours yesterday."

Class 3A

No. 3 Howard 4, Damascus 0: As the game went on, Lions pitcher Kensey O'Neill got stronger.

On the back of O'Neill's one-hitter, Howard (21-2) advanced to the state title game past Damascus (18-2) with a 4-0 shutout.

The junior hurler struck out eight batters and retired the last 21 Hornets she faced.

"She hits spots," Howard coach Dave Vezzi said. "When you throw like that, you're tough to beat."

Vezzi and the Lions will be making their first appearance in the championship game after losing their past two semifinal appearances in eight-inning affairs.

Howard will face Northern Calvert in the final at Maryland. Northern beat C.M. Wright, 4-1, to advance to the title game.

"It's the first time we're going to the finals, so it's a pretty good feeling," Vezzi said. "We played great today."

The Lions started well, loading the bases in the first inning with one out, but managed only one run.

It was all O'Neill needed.

Catcher Kaci Frick came through with a clutch two-RBI double in the top of the third inning that scored first baseman Sage McGrann. The run gave Howard a 2-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Damascus could never muster a threat after the first inning. Following a leadoff double from centerfielder Cassie Clayborne, O'Neill sat the Hornets down in order. Damascus wouldn't see another hit for the rest of the contest.

Howard stretched the lead to 3-0 on an RBI single from centerfielder Alicia Grant that scored shortstop Juliana Natoli. The game reached its final margin on a RBI single from Natoli in the sixth inning, scoring McGrann from second.

The Lions chased Damascus pitcher Rachael Ligouri after 41/3 innings of work in favor of second baseman Stefani Ray. Ligouri gave up three runs and seven hits.

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