The Maryland District 7 girls softball team won its third consecutive Big League World Series championship today, as Clarisa Crowell struck out 15 and catcher Beth Radford homered and drove in three runs in a 7-0 victory over Michigan District 2 of Kalamazoo at Vanderberg Park.
"There is nobody else I would rather have on the mound," Maryland Manager Mike Kriner said of Crowell. "This [championship] was sweet. I can smile now. The first [championship in 1997] was special and last year we expected to win. This year, it was a struggle. When we sit back and think about it, this might be the sweetest one."
Earlier in the week, the Southern Maryland-based team lost to Michigan, 5-4, forcing it to win its two remaining round-robin games to qualify for the championship game. But Maryland defeated Charleston, W. Va., 7-0, on Thursday behind 12 strikeouts from Crowell, then came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Indianapolis, 7-4, on Friday. Today, Crowell--who had 37 strikeouts in just 19 innings during the tournament--struck out Kalamazoo's first three batters.
"She threw really well today," Radford said. "It is just a lot different when Clarisa is out there. She just knows what she is doing out there. You just have a lot of confidence in her."
Michigan put itself in a huge hole in the first inning, making two errors that helped Maryland take a 2-0 lead.