Two years ago, Chesapeake fell to Huntingtown in the state final. As the team walked away from the field, Nutile, then a sophomore, turned to Coach Don Ellenberger and said, “Give me your pinkie.”
“He said, ‘Oh, golly, what’s this for,’ ” Nutile recalled. “And I said: ‘I pinkie swear to you that I will get you back here and I will win it. I’m not going out without one.’ ”
Nutile delivered on her pinkie promise Friday in Glen Burnie, leading the No. 3 Cougars (16-1) to their eighth state title and first since 2008.
The pitcher had a perfect game into the sixth inning before Reservoir’s Madison Granzow and Maggie Frisvold hit back-to-back two-out singles. Nutile recovered with a strikeout to end the inning.
Top-seeded Reservoir (15-1) threatened again in the final inning. Courtney Johnson reached first base on an error to start the inning, then the Gators advanced courtesy runner Mia McGrath around the base paths to get on the scoreboard. Again, though, Nutile buckled down and ended the game with a swinging strikeout.
Before the final pitch, sophomore catcher Samantha Larkin visited Nutile in the circle to help her lock in. “I just told her: ‘Relax. We can do this,’ ” Larkin said.
Larkin played a starring role in the Cougars’ state tournament run. She hit a three-run home run in the state semifinal to push her team ahead of No. 2 Northern, 6-4, then contributed again with her bat in the state final.
Chesapeake scored in the second inning when Norah Hart tripled and Kaitlyn Young knocked her in with a single. In the next two innings, the Gators worked around Cougars base runners. In the top of the fifth, though, freshman Alana Watts hit a two-out single, and Larkin followed with a two-run blast to give her team breathing room.
Nutile watched Larkin’s at-bat from the dugout. As soon as the ball left her bat, Nutile showed her prescience once more. Even as the ball sliced toward the right field foul line, she told her coaches it would be a home run.
“I called it,” Nutile said. “As soon as I saw it, I said: ‘That’s it. She got it.’ And she did.”