“I just knew I had to hit the ball, not [think about] how hard I hit it,” Allender said. “I just had to make contact.”
After the game, Allender rubbed the temporary eye-black tattoos on her arms before she discussed the play. One arm was a canvas for a cross, and the other was marked with a five for senior captain Caitlyn Kirby’s jersey number.
“I wanted to play for something other than myself today,” Allender said. “She’s a senior. I just wanted to play for her.”
The freshman shortstop went 2 for 3 and anchored a nearly error-free Glen Burnie defense that forced Chesapeake (15-7) to squander scoring opportunities. The Cougars stranded two base runners in three separate innings.
“Unfortunately for us that’s been a reoccurring theme this season,” Chesapeake Coach Don Ellenberger said. “In years past we’ve had a little bit more clutch hitting. This year we didn’t have that, and that hurt us today.”
Kirby ended the fourth inning with a diving stop on a line drive to third base to kill a Chesapeake rally.
Glen Burnie junior pitcher Ali Moos did not register a strikeout until the 26th hitter she faced, but she allowed only three hits.
“Today was probably the best team win I’ve ever seen,” Moos said.
“There’s no weak spot in [Chesapeake’s] lineup. Obviously they’re going to have to hit it, and our defense is going to have to make the plays, and they did.”
Chesapeake took the first lead in the third inning when designated player Alex Braun hit a long double, and Hunter Royston’s sacrifice fly sent her home.
Sam Gilbert led off the fourth for Glen Burnie by taking first on a dropped third strike. Amanda Varden singled, and two Gophers popped up before Allender’s game-changing swing.
The Cougars and the Gophers split the regular season series and finished with identical 12-4 records in Anne Arundel County, a league rife with parity.
Chesapeake boasts seven state titles and advanced to the Maryland 4A tournament finals in the past two years, but Glen Burnie will represent the county against Maryland 4A South region champion Eleanor Roosevelt (20-0) in the state semifinals on Tuesday at the Bachman Softball Complex.
Glen Burnie has won the state championship in three of four visits to the state semifinals. This is the furthest it has advanced since it won the title in 1998.
Roosevelt remains unbeaten
Three region finals took place Thursday. Eleanor Roosevelt, the undefeated Prince George’s 4A champ, ran through the Maryland 4A South region, defeating its first two opponents by 10 runs a piece before polishing off Bowie, 7-2.