Fallston 3, Severna Park 1
Severna Park sophomore pitcher Kaila Jenkins thought she was in control. Through seven innings in a scoreless Maryland 3A softball championship game, Jenkins had been throwing her fastball by Fallston's hitters, and her rise ball left them swinging at air.
But on the first pitch of the eighth inning -- with a runner on second base, in accordance with the international tie-breaker -- everything changed, without the ball touching the bat. A few minutes later, defending state champion Severna Park walked off the field with a 3-1 loss at the University of Maryland.
Fallston's Stephanie Schultz squared to bunt to lead off the eighth, which drew Severna Park junior third baseman Kristin Wojtowycz off the base, and Fallston's Jackie Fowler broke for third. No Severna Park fielder covered third base, and senior catcher Erin O'Keefe threw the ball over Wojtowycz's head into left field, which allowed Fowler to score the game's first run.
It got worse for the Falcons (21-4) from there, as Fallston connected for four more hits off Jenkins after getting two in the first seven innings. By the time Severna Park shortstop Katie Purcell caught Lindsey Mueller's fly ball, the Falcons were down 3-0.
"I felt like I was in control and that the game was going to go our way," said Jenkins, who had shut out five of her past six opponents before allowing three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts against Fallston. "But then all of the sudden after that one play, they started hitting the ball."
Severna Park, attempting to become the first team to win consecutive 3A titles since McDonough in 1996-97, didn't go quietly in the bottom of the eighth. The Falcons' Mary Centineo started the inning at second base and scored on an error. Severna Park had runners on first and second with two out, but Fallston senior pitcher Kirsten Wells induced a fielder's choice grounder to end the game and the Falcons' reign.
In winning its first state softball title, Fallston (22-1) became the first team from Harford County to win a state crown since C.M. Wright in 1985, thanks largely to Wells. The right-hander allowed two hits, both by Severna Park senior right fielder Ashley Richardson, to go along with 11 strikeouts.