- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
GLEN BURNIE Reservoir tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the first inning following a couple of Northern miscues.
However, the Gators from Howard County had another thing coming in Tuesday night’s Class 3A state semifinal softball contest at Bachman Softball Complex.
That came in the form of sophomore pitcher Jess Cummings, who retired 19 of the final 25 batters she faced, ending a complete-game effort with 12 strikeouts, as the Patriots prevailed with a 7-2 victory.
Northern (24-0 overall) advanceds to the state championship game versus Linganore of Frederick County at the University of Maryland’s Robert E. Taylor Stadium in College Park at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Patriots are going for a fifth-straight state title, a feat that has never been done in Maryland.
“Though we graduated eight seniors the expectations never change for this program,” Northern head coach Robert Earl Radford said. “We are young this year and only have two seniors, but the kids have worked very hard to get to this point.”
After allowing an unearned run in the first, Cummings settled down and retired 12 straight batters at one point.
“As much of a tradition that we have in this program we have a lot of people on our field this year that have been in the dugout in this situation, but have not been on the field,” said Cummings, who gave up just two hits. “After the first inning when we got out there we realized that it was just another game.”
Patriots senior shortstop Lindsey Schmeiser, a University of Maryland commit, collected three of the team’s 10 hits in four plate appearances, with an RBI and run scored.
“I’m super thrilled. I think our hitting picked up, girls stepped up that were in a slump for us,” said Schmeiser, who scored in the first inning on Kristina Lozupone’s RBI groundout. “With all the assumptions that people made about us, I think we showed everybody that we are perfectly capable of winning five straight.”
Schmeiser’s older sister Kaitlyn, who graduated last season and is now playing at the University of Maryland, was in attendance Tuesday. Kaitlyn help lead the Patriots to four straight state titles in her career on the rubber.
“When I struck out my third time up she was basically at the fence taunting me,” the younger Schmeiser said, jokingly. “At the same time it was funny because it encouraged me for the next at-bat.”
Lozupone led off the fourth with a triple to left field. Two batters later, junior third baseman Erin Adams hit a RBI double, scoring Lozupone, and would score on a wild pitch to make it 3-1.
“I wanted a hit so bad and I knew I had to jump on the first pitch,” Adams said. “We lost eight seniors, but we love playing together, and the younger players have stepped right in for us. We want to win five in a row now.”
Junior center fielder Kierstie Schaefer broke the game open in the fifth with a one-out, two-run triple. In the sixth, senior Marleigh Smith had an RBI double and later scored on Schmeiser’s base hit.
“It’s great to have players behind you that will make plays and score runs,” Cummings said. “The players before us have set us up for this; I think we have earned it. We want to be able to win five.”
Senior Morgan Wolfe, who had a base hit for the Gators (20-4), scored on an error in the first. Senior center fielder Megan Maloney collected an RBI single in the seventh for the team’s second run of the contest.
“It was matter of us getting out the jitters,” Reservoir head coach Julie Frisvold said. “Once [Cummings] got in her groove, it was hard to do anything. We didn’t make a connection of how she was pitching until the sixth inning. By then it was too late.”
Reservoir senior Rachel Brown went the distance and struck out two batters.
“I can’t say enough about my team,” Frisvold said. “The eight seniors as a whole have helped build this program. Hopefully we will be back to this point next season.”
Northern 7, Reservoir 2
Northern 100 222 0 7 10 2
Reservoir 100 000 1 2 2 3
WP Cummings, LP Brown
Extra-base hits: 2B Adams (N), Smith (N); 3B Schaefer (N), Lozupone (N)