Every time defending Maryland 3A champion Severna Park got a bat on the ball in its semifinal game yesterday, it seemed to find its way into the glove of a Mount Hebron player. But the Falcons remained aggressive at the plate and eventually pulled away with a 4-0 victory to advance to their second consecutive appearance in the finals.
Severna Park (21-3) will meet Fallston (22-1), which defeated Frederick, 10-3, in the final on Friday at the University of Maryland. Mount Hebron finished 20-2.
The Falcons took a 1-0 lead in the first when sophomore pitcher Kaila Jenkins blooped a single into right to score shortstop Katie Purcell.
In the bottom of the sixth, Severna Park loaded the bases with none out. Junior first baseman Kristin Wojtowycz led off with a walk. Jenkins followed with another infielder blooper and catcher Erin O'Keefe reached base on a fielder's choice. First baseman Jen Wiley's two-run single to right field gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead. O'Keefe would later score on a groundout for the margin of victory.
"We were much more selective in the sixth inning," Jenkins said. "He [Coach Jeff Shepard] just kept telling us to continue to be aggressive at the plate."
On the mound, Jenkins was dominant. She pitched a two-hitter, allowing one base runner to advance to second in the sixth. She had nine strikeouts in her complete-game shutout.
Mount Hebron pitcher Karen Kries registered only two strikeouts, but managed on several occasions to get out of jams. She got a strikeout and flyout to end a bases loaded scoring threat in the second.
"They kept it close," Shepard said. "Their outfielders made some great plays on defense. They are a much-improved team."
Frederick's first trip to the state semifinals in 12 years ended with a 10-3 loss to Fallston.
The Cadets (14-8) scored the first three runs of the game in the bottom of the first, but Fallston scored five in the second and never looked back.
Frederick's defense committed five errors and freshman pitcher Kelsey Mills allowed 10 runs and had nine wild pitches.
Catcher Lalli Mills went 3 for 4 to lead Frederick on offense.
"We got that fast start, then we made a couple of mistakes that hurt us," Frederick Coach Randy Steiner said.
"Nobody expected us to get this far, and they didn't quit tonight. I'm very proud of them."
An unlucky bounce turned the tide against Frederick during the Cougars' five-run second. With one out and Frederick leading 3-1, Fallston right fielder Kim Lassiter hit a ball that appeared to be a routine grounder to second baseman April Przygocki, but the ball hit a rock and bounced over Lassiter's shoulder.
Two runs scored to tie the game 3-3.