Rolling into the fi­nals

Ryken soft­ball de­feats McNa­mara in WCAC semis

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

KENS­ING­TON — On a day when their con­test be­gan roughly 20 min­utes late and their of­fen­sive prow­ess took sev­eral in­nings to take shape, the St. Mary’s Ryken High School soft­ball team shook off the slow start to de­feat Bishop McNa­mara of Prince Ge­orge’s County 9-1 in the Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals at Academy of the Holy Cross on Mon­day.

Af­ter both teams watched O’Con­nell (Va.) rally from a 1-0 deficit to de­feat Prince Ge­orge’s County’s El­iz­a­beth Se­ton 2-1 by scor­ing two runs in the bot­tom of the sev­enth in­ning of the first WCAC semi­fi­nal at Holy Cross on Mon­day, The cham­pi­onship game was sched­uled to be played Tues­day at Holy Cross.

Ryken (21-1 over­all) spot­ted McNa­mara a 1-0 lead thanks to three plays that were truly un­char­ac­ter­is­tic for the Knights.

McNa­mara lead­off bat­ter Raina Cooper reached on an er­ror by Ryken third base­man Ash­ley Ram­sey then was awarded sec­ond base when Knights ace hurler Madi­son Augh­in­baugh was called for an il­le­gal pitch. Augh­in­baugh, Knights head coach Jim Sewell and the um­pires con­ferred in the cir­cle for two min­utes to clar­ify the rul­ing and the Knights hurler would not get called for an­other in­frac­tion.

With McNa­mara se­nior catcher Danielle Pick­er­ing at the plate, Cooper stole third and Ryken catcher Macken­zie Owens’ throw sailed into left field, en­abling Cooper to score the game’s first run. Augh­in­baugh would quickly set­tle down and the Knights ace did not al­low an­other run over the last six in­nings and did not yield her first hit un­til the sixth.

Ryken failed to score in the bot­tom of the first de­spite hav­ing run­ners on sec­ond and third with one out, but Owens atoned for her first-in­ning mis­cue in the bot­tom of the sec­ond. On a 3-ball, 2-strike pitch from McNa­mara se­nior ace Lau­rie Irons, Owens sent an in­side pitch over the fence in left field for a solo home run that tied the con­test.

“I had two strikes on me and I was just look­ing for a pitch that I could hit some­where,” Owens said. “I didn’t think it was go­ing out when I hit it. I ran to first as fast as I could and I didn’t re­al­ize it was gone un­til I got to sec­ond base. It was a slow start for all of us with the calls in the first in­ning, but Madi­son set­tled down and pitched a great game.”

Ryken took the lead for good in the bot­tom of the third when Jae­lyn Gorham walked, stole sec­ond and scored on a one-out sin­gle by short­stop Emma Thomp­son. The Knights then broke the game open in the fourth by scor­ing three times on four hits. Misty Bell, Augh­in­baugh, Gorham and Katie Preb­ble all sin­gled and Preb­ble drove in two runs with her base hit to left.

“It re­ally did seem like the game was go­ing slow un­til the fourth in­ning,” Preb­ble said. “Then we all started to swing the bats bet­ter the last cou­ple of in­nings. Once we got the bats go­ing, we were fine.”

Ryken added four more runs in the sixth on con­sec­u­tive one-out sin­gles from Mo­riah Hunter, Augh­in­baugh, Gorham and Preb­ble, with the Knights first base­man again driv­ing in two runs with a base hit into right. Thomp­son reached on an er­ror that en­abled Gorham and Preb­ble to score the last two runs. Lind­sey Keller sin­gled, but Owens and Ram­sey both fanned with two run­ners aboard.

Augh­in­baugh took a no-hit­ter into the sixth and fanned the first bat­ter of the in­ning. Cooper then beat out a bunt sin­gle and Pick­er­ing had a clean sin­gle to cen­ter and took sec­ond when Cooper reached third. With run­ners on sec­ond and third, Tay­lor Wil­son hit a sharp grounder to Thomp­son, who threw home to Owens to get the slid­ing Cooper for the sec­ond out.

Irons sin­gled to load the bases, but Augh­in­baugh fanned Jamie Worthen to end the threat and then struck out the side in the sev­enth. The Knights ace al­lowed one un­earned run on three hits, no walks and one hit bat­ter and fanned 10 Mus­tangs while throw­ing strikes on 66 of 92 pitches on Mon­day.

“We hung in there for a while,” McNa­mara as­sis­tant coach Paul O’Brien said. “It was 3-1 af­ter three, but they had that big fourth in­ning. When these girls don’t re­al­ize who they’re fac­ing, they’re re­ally good. But against teams like Ryken they al­low it to get to them men­tally.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

St. Mary’s Ryken se­nior ace Madi­son Augh­in­baugh fires a screw­ball to­ward home­plate on Mon­day af­ter­noon in the WCAC semi­fi­nals against McNa­mara at Holy Cross. Augh­in­baugh lim­ited the Mus­tangs to one un­earned run on three hits and fanned 10 as the Knights coasted to a 9-1 vic­tory.

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