Three times, Blair took the lead in its attempt to win its first softball region title, and three times, the Blazers promptly let it slip away against Sherwood.
When Blair went ahead for the fourth time, however, the Blazers gave themselves plenty of margin, scoring four times in the top of the sixth inning to break open a tie game and win at Sherwood, 8-6, for the Maryland 4A West region crown and keep the Warriors (17-2) from the 4A semifinals for the first time since 2006.
“We weren’t giving it up again,” said freshman Annie Pietanza, who singled to open the sixth and scored the go-ahead run.
Blair (17-3) will play in the state semifinals for the first time, on Tuesday at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie. The Blazers will face the winner of Saturday’s 4A East final between No. 2 Chesapeake and Glen Burnie. Chesapeake beat Severna Park, 3-1, while Glen Burnie upset two-time defending 4A champion Broadneck by the same score.
Sherwood had advanced to four consecutive 4A semifinals and seemed headed for a fifth after beating Blair in the regular season, 4-0, on April 7.
Blair, however, pounded out eight hits, ran the bases aggressively, and took advantage of Sherwood errors — including two in the decisive sixth inning.
Pietanza scored from third on a beautiful bunt by senior Katlyn Harmison with one out. The next three Blazers all reached, capped by Becca Arbacher’s bases-loaded grounder that got through and cleared the bases.
“We stayed off the bad pitches this time,” Coach Louie Hoelman said. “That was the difference.”
Sherwood stranded the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings, and even though the Warriors scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, they couldn’t get any closer. . . .
Melanie Slowinski’s bases-loaded triple in the fifth inning provided all the support freshman pitcher Ali Moos would need in Glen Burnie’s win, which gave the Gophers their first region title since 1998.
“In a lot of ways, we’ve played to that level,” said Gophers Coach Doug Schreiber, who has been on staff for more than a decade, “but couldn’t get the big hit in those games. Today was finally our time.”
Damascus senior Cassie Clayborne made a running catch in right-center field, and then quickly fired the ball over to second base to double-up a base runner and end the game, giving the Hornets a 1-0 victory over Blake in the 3A West region final.
Damascus scored in the third inning when sophomore shortstop Sydni Reinhold tripled to left-center for the Hornets’ only hit against Blake’s Meredith Mathis. Reinhold scored on a groundout by Shelby Foreman.
Stefani Ray struck out five and allowed only two hits for Damascus (18-1), which returns to the state semifinals for the first time since 2008. . . .
Northern will host Huntingtown in the 3A South final at 11 a.m. Saturday. . . .
Kelsie Traylor’s tie-breaking two-run triple in the top of the seventh put Spalding ahead for good as the Cavaliers beat Seton Keough, 4-1, to win the IAAM A Division tournament and avenge a pair of regular season losses.
All-Met pitcher Emily Weiman homered in the third inning to tie it at 1, and shut down Keough on five hits while striking out six.
Saturday’s championship game of the Congressional Bank Softball Classic, which pits the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association champion against a top D.C. private school team, has been canceled.
School Without Walls, which defeated Anacostia, 17-14, to claim the DCIAA title on Thursday, will not be able to participate because of injuries to two of its players and prior commitments of several others to SAT prep courses, according to DCPS Athletic Director Marcus Ellis.
Georgetown Visitation was set to play in the final.. The citywide all-star game and free skills clinic will go on as scheduled at Guy Mason Park.