North County junior Beth Mullins did not have the kind of regular season she expected this year, but it seems, as usual, that she has ratcheted up her game when it matters most -- the postseason.
Yesterday at Randazzo Park in Severn, Mullins struck out six and allowed just one hit and no earned runs in nine innings to lead the fifth-ranked Knights to a 3-1 victory over sixth-ranked Chesapeake in the Anne Arundel County championship game. The victory gave the two-time defending Maryland 4A champions their first outright county title in the nine-year history of the title game. Last year North County and Chesapeake split the title when the game was rained out.
"I felt I had to prove a little something today," said Mullins, who is unbeaten in her career in the postseason and was the pitcher of record in the last two 4A state championship games.
Yesterday's game was scoreless through eight innings as Mullins and Chesapeake senior Kristie Hurman (12 strikeouts) battled. In the top of the ninth, however, with runners on second (in accordance with the international tiebreaker rule) and first (after a walk), North County broke the game open as Danielle Martinez, Amanda Baldwin and Lisa Papsan all hit RBI singles.
Chesapeake scored on an RBI double by Brooke Owen in the bottom of the ninth and had runners at second and third, but Mullins pitched her way out of the jam.
It was yet another close game between the state powers and third this year -- the teams split one-run games during the regular season. The teams could meet again next week in the Maryland 4A East Region final if both advance.
Bowie Coach Sarah Bible tried to be aggressive and score early against Crossland in the inaugural Prince George's County softball championship game. But when that strategy failed, the Bulldogs settled for a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in nine innings at Cosca Regional Park in Clinton.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Erin Tyler started on second base as part of the tiebreaker rule. Christina Kellaher followed with an infield single, then a Crossland error allowed Tyler to move to third base. She later scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2.
With one out, Julie Hearn provided the game-winning infield ground ball that scored Kellaher.
"We just stuck it out," said Bowie junior pitcher Christina Gosweiler, who tossed a five-hitter and struck out eight. "They were trying to jam us at the plate. Once we stepped back a little bit, we were able to get some solid hits."
Crossland (17-1) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the eighth, when Trashell Cummings scored on a wild pitch. Bowie (17-1) tied it up in the bottom of the inning when Marianne Johnson scored on a groundout by Valerie D'Agostino.