The three-hit pitching of Amy Jakubowski coupled with Chesapeake's patience at the plate enabled the Cougars to capture the Maryland Class 4A softball title yesterday, handily defeating Seneca Valley, 11-2, at Upton Field in Glen Burnie.
Earlier, in Class 3A, North Carroll won its fifth state championship in 12 years by defeating Elkton, 6-1.
Chesapeake needed to win by more than three runs or there would forever be an asterisk by its name. Friday night, before the game was suspended, the Cougars took a 3-0 lead in a downpour as Seneca Valley senior Sara Graziano hit two batters, walked one, gave up one hit and threw five wild pitches.
But Graziano made moot the argument that the rain affected her control. She was no more effective in the continuation last night. She hit two batters, walked five, gave up seven hits and directly sent in six runs on eight wild pitches.
"She didn't pitch the best game tonight," said Seneca Valley's coach, Larry Raum. "I think the layoff affected her. The three-day weekend, plus she's a senior and they've had off after exams."
"Our assistant coach scouted her and said she was quick but she was wild," said Chesapeake Coach Dennis Thiele. "Friday night the word was patience. We were the dominant team that night . . . and with our pitching we were the dominant team tonight."
As Graziano, who's only been pitching since March, was struggling, Jakubowski was methodically mowing down Seneca Valley's lineup. Two of her hits were given up to Graziano, who is much more in control at the plate with a .611 batting average. The other hit was a single to Theresa Leonard, who stuck out her bat and dumped the ball down the third base line.
Jakubowski totaled 14 strikeouts and just one walk. Both runs were unearned.
"Speed wasn't a factor tonight," she said. "Being smart was the key. My change-ups worked very well tonight."
"She's an outstanding pitcher," said Raum. "She's the only pitcher we've faced this year that changed speeds."
Leadoff hitter Shannon Perrone led the Cougars with two hits and scored three runs. Jakubowski helped herself with a run-scoring double in the second inning and Tracy Starke tripled in her only official at-bat. She walked three times.
Leading by 5-2, Chesapeake scored three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to capture its second state title in three years and the fifth for an Anne Arundel County team in five years.
Starke led off the fifth with a triple down the right field line. Graziano wild-pitched her home before walking Natalie Black. Perrone singled and Graziano wild-pitched them to second and third. Stacey Necessary, who's hitting .413, singled home Black, and Graziano threw her third wild pitch of the inning to score Perrone.