The Chesapeake Raptors, a newly formed 16-and-under ASA softball team in Southern Maryland, heated up with the temperature Sunday to take second place in the Bayside Blues Summer Sizzler at Hallowing Point Park in Calvert County.
The Raptors, who have struggled to a 6-12 start in their inaugural season, dropped two of three games on the opening day of play Saturday before winning three straight Sunday to advance to the championship game.
Chesapeake fell to the Severna Park Green Hornets, 13-5, in the final.
The second-place finish qualified the team for a berth in one of two NSA national championships scheduled for later this summer. The Raptors can choose between the Class A World Series in Charlotte, N.C., and the Class B World Series in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Meanwhile, the 16-and-under Bayside Blues fell just short of qualifying for the B tournament, finishing fourth in the 14-team field with a 4-3 tournament record.
"We were playing well and had a chance to win the whole thing, but we just ran out of gas," said Blues Coach Larry Householder, organizer of the Summer Sizzler. "I'm sure everybody else was hot and tired too, but I just know we started 8 a.m. Sunday morning and by the time we got to the championship rounds, we were on E."
It was just the opposite for the Raptors, who played better as the weekend progressed. After losing two of their first three games on Saturday, Chesapeake reeled off three straight wins Sunday over the Maryland Flames (6-2), the Anne Arundel Blazers (5-1) and the Bayside Blues (8-7) to advance to the final.
Kelly Miles of Calvert High led the Raptors offensively with a .421 batting average for the tournament. That included five singles, one triple, two home runs and four runs batted in. Patuxent's Megan Coffren hit .389 over the seven-game stretch with two doubles, a triple and four RBI.
Splitting time on the mound were Calvert's Katie Phelps and Patuxent's Allison Smith, each of whom picked up two wins for the Raptors. The team's other pitcher, Charity Gorrigan of Great Mills, missed the tournament because of a field hockey camp.
"This first year has been great," said Phelps, whose father, Don, coaches the Calvert County-based team. "The hard part is going to be next year when Calvert plays Patuxent in high school ball, because we've made so many strong friendships this summer. A lot of us played together for Little League all-stars years back, and it's nice to be back together again."
The other local entry, the 14-and-under Southern Maryland Merchants, finished tied for fifth.
Older Blues Are Runners-Up
The Bayside Blues 18-and-under team fought through similar conditions for a second-place finish in their respective division of the Summer Sizzler at Dunkirk Park. After going 2-1 Saturday, the Blues had to battle their way out of the loser's bracket with three straight wins Sunday to advance to the championship game. Bayside fell in that final game, 5-3, to the Pennsylvania Storm, who went undefeated through the tournament to improve to 21-0 on the season.
Still, the second-place finish also gives the Blues the right to choose between the Class A or Class B NSA World Series, and Coach Gary Padgett said his team has elected to go to the Class A World Series July 25 to Aug. 1 in Charlotte.
"The whole team really played great this weekend," Padgett said. "This one really was a team effort."
Three different pitchers split time for Bayside, including Kim Folson of Bishop McNamara, Michelle Edelen of Queen Anne's and Amanda Mason of Northern. Mason missed nearly all of the 1999 high school season after breaking bones in her right (throwing) hand.
"This was the first weekend she's really be able to throw more than just a couple innings," Padgett said of Mason. "But it finally seems her hand is doing fine."
Leading the Blues offensively were St. Mary's Ryken teammates Jessica Semega and Michelle Steinhouser. Catcher Lacey Stallings, of Northern, led the team defensively, catching seven games over a two-day span in the grueling heat.
CAPTION: Bayside Blues infielder Danielle Dinsmore, right, applies a tag moments too late as Meredith Carter of the Maryland Stars slides safely into second during the 16-and-under Summer Sizzler softball tournament.
CAPTION: Bayside Blues hurler Melanie Fowler fires a pitch to batter Sherri Rauenzahn of the Maryland Stars, who later struck out. The 16-and-under Blues finished fourth in the tournament at Hallowing Point Park.