Maryland 3A softball: Northern wins fifth straight title with 10-0 victory over Linganore

May 26, 2012

After she finished celebrating the fourth state softball championship of her decorated high school career, Northern shortstop Lindsey Schmeiser had trouble putting into words the magnitude of her team’s accomplishments.

“It’s one of those things where it’s kind of surreal,” Schmeiser said. “It’s hard to describe because it doesn’t even feel like it happened.”

Northern’s run of state championships moved past impressive and into the realm of the implausible Saturday with the Patriots’ 10-0 win over Linganore in the Maryland 3A title game at Robert E. Taylor Stadium at the University of Maryland.

Northern (25-0) became the first softball program in state history to win five consecutive state titles, and its nine total championships tie Northeast for the most ever.

The Patriots have won 53 consecutive games dating from May 2010, and they have outscored their five recent state championship game opponents by a combined score of 35-0.

On Saturday, sophomore pitcher Jess Cummings struck out 15 in a five-hit shutout, and Northern scored six runs in the fourth inning to seal the most recent title without much drama.

“Somebody asked me, ‘How do you go about winning five [state championships]?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t have a clue,’ ” Northern Coach Robert Earl Radford said. “We took over the program in 2005 and wanted to return to prominence in the state. We set out to do that and it just keeps building.”

Northern scored single runs in each of the first two innings Saturday, taking advantage of four Linganore errors as the Lancers (20-4) dealt with early jitters in their first state final appearance.

Schmeiser dealt what Radford called “the death blow” when she knocked in two more runs to open the scoring in Northern’s six-run fourth inning with a sharp single to center, and Schmeiser later scored on center fielder Kierstie Schaefer’s sacrifice fly.

Catcher Kristina Lozupone knocked in the Patriots’ sixth run of the game with a lined double into the left-center field gap, and Carleigh Ruleman capped the big inning with a two-run single to left.

“As soon as they made those early mistakes, we were on a roll,” Cummings said. “That’s huge because you can play confident knowing you have the lead.”

Northern added single runs in the top of the fifth and top of the seventh, but Cummings had been in control throughout, striking out at least two hitters in all but one inning and allowing just two runners past first base all afternoon.

“It’s icing on top of the cake,” said Schmeiser, a Maryland recruit. “Now I can enjoy my summer.”

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