No. 9 Chesapeake (20-4) is in the state playoffs for the first time since 1993, when the Cougars won the school's fifth state title. Senior 3B Brittany Owen (.431, 27 RBI) and senior P Kristie Hurman (17-4) had key hits in the team's narrow victories in the region semifinal and final. The Cougars' opponent, Eleanor Roosevelt (18-3), has lost in the state final three of the past four years. The Raiders are led by junior SS Kelley Oklesson, sophomore P Jessica Webster and senior SS Ellen Hungate. Senior P Rachel Jacobs (12 strikeouts in region final) and Watkins Mill (18-1) will face 2001 champion Westminster (17-0) in the other semifinal.
Howard County co-champion Glenelg (20-5), which lost in last year's semis, is trying to advance to the program's first state final. Senior P-3B Stephanie Sims and junior 2B Amanda Yanulevich have combined to drive in nearly 80 runs this season for the Gladiators, whose semifinal opponent, Easton (21-0), has won two state titles since 2000. The winner will play Fort Hill (20-0) or Hereford (11-10).
The Severna Park-Mount Hebron winner will take on the winner of the game between Frederick (14-7) and Fallston (21-1). Frederick, 3-0 in state semifinal games, is making its first playoff appearance since 1992.
No team still alive has made more trips to states than Catoctin (19-2), which is making its 15th appearance overall and ninth in the last 10 years. P Sam Weaver has driven in 47 runs this season for the Cougars, who will face last year's 2A champion, North Caroline (14-7), in one semifinal. Beall (16-2) and Perryville (7-13) will meet in the other.
-- Steve Lewis