Saints keep on rolling, top Vikings
CAMBRIDGE — Two down, one to go. A challenging week for the Saints is going pretty darn well.
Facing Easton, Cambridge-South Dorchester — and with unbeaten Mardela still to come — St. Michaels High’s softball team opened the week with a blowout win over the Warriors on Monday, then delivered a solid 4-1 victory over the Vikings on Tuesday.
Against Cambridge-SD, St. Michaels sophomore pitcher McKenna Browning (6-0) scattered four hits and two walks to lead the Saints to their ninth straight victory.
The Saints improved to 9-0 overall, 2-0 North Bayside, while the Vikings slipped to 9-3, 4-1. St. Michaels also defeated Cambridge-SD, 7-6 in eight innings April 1, but only yesterday’s game counted in the division standings.
The Saints are schedule to visit South Bayside power Mardela on Thursday.
On a warm, sunny Tuesday afternoon at Christ Rock Park, Cambridge held a 1-0 lead through four innings before the Saints strung together five hits off Vikings pitcher Paige Bleyer (8-3) in the top of the fifth to score all their runs.
“That was the kind of game I expected out of Cambridge, that they were going to fight and we were going to have a game on our hands,” Saints head coach Dave Fisher said. “I was a little worried coming out of yesterday, because you play like that you take things for granted. We were a little bit [flat] defensively early with that one unearned run.”
Bleyer allowed only two runners in the first four innings and induced a fly out to start the fifth. But Browning got the Saints rolling with a lined-single to left and took second on an outfield error. Ashton Landers then lined an RBI-single to right to tie the game at 1-1.
“Normally, when the bottom of the order starts hitting they ascend in the lineup, but they’re hitting like that where they are,” Fisher said. “It’s nice to get that far in the lineup and know you can get just as much out of them as you can out of the top of your order.”
A fly ball off the bat of Emily Eaton, ninth in the batting order, found the gap in left-center field for a double to place two runners in scoring position. Sam Romberger then lined a double to left to knock in Landers and Eaton for a 3-1 lead.
“It was like an outside pitch. It was kind of like belt high, outside. It was a nice pitch; I just kept my head on it the whole time,” Romberger said.
Layla Berry followed with a double down the rightfield line to plate Romberger for what turned out to be the game’s final run.
Browning walked Emily Keener and Karli Lewis in the bottom of the fifth, and both advanced on a passed ball with two outs. But Berry, playing second base in the right spot, was able to stab a hard one-hopper from Bleyer and threw to first to end the inning.
“That’s the thing we’re focusing on, making the key outs, making the routine plays that we should make,” Fisher said. “You can’t make mistakes on routine plays and play good teams like this and win. You have to play good defense and hit the ball, and it took us a little while but the bats came along.”
Browning allowed only one hit, a single to right by Alyssa Swann, in the final two frames. She finished with nine strikeouts, which included fanning the side in the second inning.
Cambridge-SD capitalized on St. Michaels’ only error to score its lone run with two outs in the first. Bleyer reached second base on the error and scored on Jamyra Chester’s double to deep left-center field.
Except for the fifth inning, the Saints’ only offense came in the second. Angelica Sichette dropped a soft-liner into right field and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Chase Browning. With two outs, McKenna Browning reached on an infield hit that moved Sichette to third. Both runners were stranded when a missed sign for a fake bunt, according to Fisher, led to a bunt that rolled right to Bleyer who threw to first for the third out.
Bleyer allowed six hits and four earned runs. She struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Vikings head coach Kareem Otey said the difference in the game was “hitting, definitely hitting.”
“I think they strung five hits together in a row,” she added. “If we were making contact, we were hitting it to somebody. They just played a good game. Defensively, we did well. You can’t really field the ones that are hit in the holes.”
Easton 13 N. Dorchester 6
EASTON — Anna Slaughenhoupt went 5 for 5 with a homer, double, three RBIs and three runs scored to lead the Warriors.
Peyton Elzey (2-0) allowed six runs — one earned — four hits, no walks and struck out four over five innings to earn the win. Joy Kolakowski pitched two innings of scoreless, one-hit relief, striking out four and walking none.
Elzey blasted a two-run homer, the first of her high school career. Lexi Kettering singled, doubled and drove in three runs for Easton. Cameron Foster singled, doubled and scored three runs, Kassidy Willis singled and scored three times, Kate Miles had a pair of singles and two RBIs, Jada Murray singled twice, and Tori Weems hit an RBI single.
N. Caroline 12 Kent County 2
RIDGELY — Winning pitcher Brea Bishop struck out eight and helped herself with three hits to lead the Bulldogs.
Mackenzie Short, Clara Thornton and Abby Trice each doubled for North Caroline. Megan Robbins had two hits, including a triple, and Sarah Mast tripled. Ali Ward, Emily Ward and Aubree Strange each added a single for the Bulldogs.
Down 2-1, North Caroline scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Colonel 19 Queen Anne’s 3
CENTREVILLE — Madison Bee had four hits, including a home run and five RBIs, to lead the Colonels.
Gabby Galante earned the win, allowing four hits, three walks and striking out three over five innings. Jazmine Brooks and Jayna Turner each had three hits, and Galante, Morgan Willoughby and Jen Larrimore had two hits apiece.
Leah Bradley, who took the loss, had two hits for the Lions.
Cambridge-South Dorchester right-hander Paige Bleyer delivers a pitching Tuesday afternoon against St. Michaels.