Glen Burnie pitcher Wynter Radcliffe gave up a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning of Tuesday’s Maryland 4A softball semifinal against Whitman. But as a leader of the group Gophers Coach Dave Sauble dubbed the “Coronary Kids,” Radcliffe was unfazed.
“We’re not scared if we’re losing, because we know how to come back from it,” Radcliffe said.
Radcliffe responded at the plate with a home run in the bottom of the inning, a two-run shot over the right field fence at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie, to yank back the lead.
The sophomore protected that advantage the rest of the game, shutting down Whitman in the circle with 13 strikeouts and tacking on one more RBI in the fifth to propel the No. 7 Gophers to a 3-1 win and a state final berth Saturday at the University of Maryland.
As Sauble watched Whitman freshman Samantha Tave sail a home run over the left field fence to give the Vikings (15-5) the early lead, he did not flinch.
“When I’m down, I’m never upset,” Sauble said. “I feel weird when we’re winning. If we get a lead to start a game, it’s freaky.”
Glen Burnie senior Shaianne Turner opened the bottom of the inning with a single into left field, then Radcliffe homered to put the Gophers (19-3) on top in front of a boisterous home crowd; while ostensibly at a neutral site, the game was played three miles from Glen Burnie High.
“The crowd was overwhelming at first,” Radcliffe said. “But the cheers were definitely appreciated.”
In Saturday’s championship game, Glen Burnie will face No. 4 Sherwood (20-1), which survived a close contest against Bowie, 3-2, in the other semifinal.
Neither team scored until the top of the sixth inning, when the Warriors took a two-run lead on an RBI triple from Hannah Bowers followed by an RBI double from Christi Mathis. But in the bottom of the inning, Bowie (18-1) struck back with a two-run single from Makayla Clay to tie the game.
Sherwood, though, regained the lead thanks to the base-running of freshman Summer Green. She singled to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a fly ball, advanced to third on a passed ball, then scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Grace Manlapaz. Sherwood pitcher Samantha Combs returned to the circle in the bottom of the seventh to seal the win. The junior allowed just four hits in a complete game.
“We got a late start but we still got the job done, and that’s all you can ask for,” Combs said. “When you have a slow start, you just have to keep going and have trust in your teammates, and your bats will come around.”
In the Maryland 1A semifinals, Lackey lost, 5-4, to Sparrows Point (11-10).
Lackey finished 13-9.