Westlake 13, McDonough 3

Westlake center fielder Somer Miller did not expect that her team would post a five-inning, 13-3 victory Friday over McDonough in the first round of the Maryland 3A South Region playoffs. The Rams entered the game having won three of their last four games, with one of those victories coming against the Wolverines.

But thanks in part to a 10-run first inning, sixth-seeded Westlake (10-9) will travel to third-seeded Northeast for a second-round game tomorrow.

The Wolverines received quite a bit of help from McDonough but also got a glimpse of their potentially potent offense.

In preparation for the game, Westlake spent the week working on its hitting. The move paid off as several players swung aggressively at the plate and connected with ferocity.

The Wolverines scored five of their first 10 runs on errors as the Rams struggled in the field. Then Miller hit a triple deep into center field to score Christina Shipyan, who earlier had a two-run triple, to close out the inning with a 10-0 lead.

"I thought it was going to be a close game after they had beaten us 3-2 [on May 6]," said Miller, who went 4 for 4 for two RBI and one run scored. "I think we went into it prepared and wanted to win badly. This whole week all we had done was practicing hitting, focusing on fast pitching."

Even when McDonough (13-8) switched to freshman pitcher Alyssa Robbins, Westlake continued to hit. Shipyan went 3 for 3 with two RBI and one run scored, including a deep drive to center field in the third inning. Shortstop Megan Barrows also went 3 for 3, including a two-run single in the first inning.

"Our bats were aggressive," said Barrows, who scored three runs. "They helped us out a little bit. But this victory gives us confidence in going up against Northeast. We know they're going to be tough, and have a great pitcher."

Despite the disastrous first inning, McDonough did mount a comeback. Robbins retired the side in the second, and left fielder Danielle Kaloz drove in a run with a groundout to cut the deficit to 10-1. The Rams scored their only other runs on a two-RBI double by Tenay Gaddy in the fourth.

"I tried to keep up the spirits on our team," said McDonough senior first baseman Heather Kick. "After the first inning of errors, we just couldn't come back. I don't know how to explain it. We had a strong warmup. I thought we were ready for this game."

In the bottom of the third, Westlake added two more runs on RBI singles from Barrows and Miller.

"We split during the season, so I thought we had a good shot," said McDonough Coach Phil Cuellar. "We couldn't get out of that first inning. We started out rough. You have to be better than that to beat anybody."

The loss marked a rough ending to Kick's four-year career. She was part of last season's team, which went 18-1 before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. Yet with only three seniors graduating, the Rams' core will return next season.

"I think we'll be a better team next year," Cuellar said.

McDonough's Heather Kick stretches to make the out before Westlake's Katie Coughlin can reach first. Five of the Wolverines' first 10 runs came on errors.