Through two innings, it became apparent to Sherwood sophomore pitcher Meggie Dejter that she wasn’t going to get many strikes called with her screwball Tuesday night in the Warriors’ Maryland 4A softball semifinal matchup against Magruder. So, in between innings, she suggested to her coaches that they rely more on her curveball the rest of the game.
That adjustment, Dejter said later, played a crucial role in what became a dominating performance. Seven of Dejter’s eight strikeouts came after the second inning, and she led Sherwood to an 8-1 victory at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie.
The Warriors (20-0) will attempt to become the first Montgomery County team since 2002 to win a state championship with an undefeated record when they face Chesapeake (20-5) on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland.
“I wasn’t really getting the screwball; I wasn’t getting that inside corner, so a lot of times I had to go outside with the curve and the drop curve,” Dejter said. “I had to work a lot off to the outside of the plate on both batters, lefty and righty. I pretty much stayed with the curve and drop curve, and that gave them a hard time.”
Dejter’s recognition that she had to work to the umpire’s strike zone is just the latest example of the maturity about which her coach raves. In seven innings, Dejter allowed three hits and no walks. Only one batter advanced past first base for Magruder (13-6).
“She’s outstanding,” Sherwood Coach Pat Flanagan said. “I mean, what can you say about the kid? She just turned 16 years old [before the season], and she’s just so composed. I’ve had people from other teams say, ‘So she’s a junior or a senior, right?’ No, she’s a sophomore.”
●CHESAPEAKE 8, C.H. FLOWERS 0: Junior pitcher Crystal White allowed two hits in six innings while guiding the Cougars past the Jaguars (17-3) in the other 4A semifinal. With the win, Chesapeake advanced to the 4A final for the second straight year.
The Cougars, who are riding a 17-game winning streak, received offensive support from sophomore center fielder Danielle Myers (2 for 4 with a triple and two RBI), junior left fielder Olivia Ravadge (2 for 2 with a home run and a double) and junior third baseman Amber Warner, who tallied an RBI triple.
●NORTHERN 7, RESERVOIR 2: Sophomore pitcher Jess Cummings tossed a two-hitter and battled through an inconsistent strike zone to lead the No. 1 Patriots (24-0) past the Gators (20-4) in a 3A semifinal.
“We only have three players who were on the field for us last year,” Northern Coach Robert Earl Radford said. “To get back and have an opportunity to compete is really satisfying.”
Cummings allowed an unearned run in the first inning, but retired 12 batters in a row at one point and finished with 11 strikeouts despite four walks and a hit by pitch.
Senior shortstop Lindsey Schmeiser went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, third baseman Erin Adams hit an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1 in the top of the fourth inning, and center fielder Kierstie Schaefer put the game out of reach with a two-run triple in the fourth.
“With all the assumptions people made this year after we lost eight seniors,” Schmeiser said, “we kind of showed everybody that we’re still perfectly capable of winning five straight.”
●LINGANORE 4, EASTERN TECH 3: With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the eighth inning, a dropped flyball scored Alexandra Bullard with the winning run and sent the Lancers to the first state championship game in program history.
Linganore took a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning, but the Mavericks (22-3) tied it with a bases-loaded triple with two out.
Katelyn Kosar and Holly Gambrell each had RBI hits for Linganore, while Victoria Brown pitched a complete game.
●MCDONOUGH 3, RISING SUN 2: The Rams scored three runs in the fourth inning and then held on to claim a one-run victory over the Tigers (21-2) in a 2A semifinal. McDonough (18-5) advances to take on Liberty (20-2) in the state final on Friday at 6 p.m. at Maryland.
With one out in the fourth, McDonough junior first baseman Abby Corrado hit a two-RBI single. Sophomore shortstop Erin Parlett followed with an RBI double. Four of the Rams’ seven hits came in the fourth.
While McDonough senior pitcher Jazzmyn Hayden allowed just three hits and struck out six batters, neither she nor her defense made things easy. Hayden walked four batters and hit four more with pitches, and the Rams defense tallied five errors.
“Easy plays, you know, we get nervous and tighten up,” McDonough senior third baseman Molly Simpson said. “But we know how to come back and get us back in the game.”