La Plata base­ball, soft­ball off to state fi­nals

Gayon’s RBI hit is dif­fer­ence as La Plata wins 2A state semi in 8 in­nings

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

GLEN BURNIE — Alyssa Gayon ad­mit­ted her pregame warmup be­fore La Plata’s Class 2A state semi­fi­nal soft­ball game against East­ern Tech was less than stel­lar. Her per­for­mance dur­ing the game was de­cid­edly dif­fer­ent.

Gayon’s one-out bloop sin­gle to shal­low cen­ter field scored team­mate Ava Krahling from sec­ond base to help La Plata slip past the Mav­er­icks of Bal­ti­more County 3-2 in eight in­nings at Bach­man Sports Com­plex and move on to the state cham­pi­onship game.

The War­riors (16-6 over­all) will face Ca­toctin of Fred­er­ick County in the state cham­pi­onship game at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Univer­sity of Mary­land’s Robert E. Tay­lor Sta­dium in Col­lege Park. Ca­toctin de­feated North East of Ce­cil County 6-1 in other 2A state semi­fi­nal.

“I’m just proud of them and so ex­cited for all of them,” La Plata head coach Dave Krahling said. “Another game and we don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen, but we’re go­ing to soak this up. We need to stay true to what we’ve been do­ing. We’re go­ing to take a day off and re­gather our­selves and get back on the prac­tice field and work on our drills. Fun­da­men­tally we’re work­ing hard on our de­fense and that’s what wins ball­games.”

La Plata has pre­vi­ously reached the state cham­pi­onship game in 1985 and 1998.

“Oh God, a lot of adren­a­line here,” said La Plata start­ing pitcher Alyssa Bilodeau, who al­lowed seven hits and struck out 12. “We’ve played re­ally hard for this and we wanted this so bad that we came out here and played the best we could and it paid off for us.”

Gayon said the War­riors must get the bats go­ing in the fi­nal.

“I think we work pretty well to­gether, but we need to be more con­sis­tent in our hit­ting be­cause we [al­ways seem to] hit in the first and

last in­nings,” she said.

It ap­peared La Plata was headed to the state fi­nal when it held a 2-0 lead go­ing into the bot­tom of the sev­enth, but the Mav­er­icks scratched out two runs to force ex­tra in­nings and set the stage for Gayon’s hero­ics.

With the in­ter­na­tional tiebreaker in ef­fect, Ava Krahling went to sec­ond base and, with one out, Gayon lifted a flare into shal­low cen­ter field which dropped be­tween three Mav­er­icks and plated Krahling with the go-ahead run.

“I was just try­ing to get a base hit, some­thing to drive in the run and I was re­ally ner­vous that it was that high in the air,” said Gayon, a fresh­man out­fielder. “But I felt re­ally lucky when it dropped. I was re­ally sur­prised.”

“The girl hit the ball pretty good the first time, so we had the cen­ter fielder back and [Gayon] con­nected pretty good,” East­ern Tech head coach Jack Mey­ers said. “[Cen­ter fielder Han­nah Pfarr] dove for the ball and al­most had it but that hap­pens.”

Gayon was sport­ing an ear-toear grin, a far cry from her per­for­mance in the warmups.

“I was re­ally ner­vous at first, es­pe­cially be­cause I wasn’t do­ing well in warmups,” she said. “That was mak­ing me re­ally scared and when we came out here I was too anx­ious, but I hit a dou­ble in the first in­ning and that calmed me down a bit. I was more re­laxed af­ter that.”

East­ern Tech (20-2) failed to ad­vance the run­ner af­ter back-to­back sac­ri­fice bunt at­tempts were gloved by catcher Devin Ru­ble and Bilodeau blew a called third strike past Pfarr to seal the win.

“They fell back and forth [through­out the game], but the thing I’m most happy of them is they didn’t give up and that’s what means a lot to me,” Dave Krahling said. “They leaned on each other and since we lost that game to North Point [6-2 on April 22] they’ve leaned on each other and that’s all I can ask for. That’s what makes me proud as a coach.”

La Plata had an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to open the scor­ing when it loaded the bases in the top of the first on a lead­off dou­ble by Han­nah Kraft and con­sec­u­tive walks to Erica Cox and Ru­ble, but Mav­er­icks pitcher Jodie Bronushas recorded a strike­out, pop out and ground­out to end the in­ning.

“We left run­ners on, but what I liked was that they came out ag­gres­sive,” Krahling said, “and when you come out ag­gres­sive that’s what means a lot to me.”

“When you have run­ners on base you want to ad­vance them. You def­i­nitely don’t want to let [teams] hang around,” Bilodeau said. “We strug­gled a bit there, but it was just the first in­ning.”

The War­riors opened the scor­ing in the sec­ond when Gayon stroked a lead­off dou­ble, went to third on Bilodeau’s sac­ri­fice bunt and scored on Ash­lee Roberts’ in­field hit.

La Plata main­tained its 1-0 lead as Bilodeau cruised through the East­ern Tech lineup. Bilodeau walked one, hit a bat­ter and re­tired 16 of the first 20 bat­ters she faced and eight straight — five by strike­out — in the mid­dle in­nings.

“[I was] def­i­nitely keep­ing it off the plate,” she said. “I was go­ing with the two pitches that were work­ing the best, but af­ter awhile I saw them chas­ing pitches so I stuck to that. And once they started hit­ting, I brought it back down low and in the zone.”

“She’s strong and they trust her and she trusts them and her de­fense,” Krahling said, “and as a team that’s what I strive for.”

The War­riors added to their lead with a two-out rally in the top of the sev­enth. Ru­ble smashed a two-base hit to left-cen­ter and scored on an er­ror. East­ern Tech clawed back in the bot­tom of the frame to tie it on Sarah Heagy’s two-out, two-run sin­gle past short.

“We were try­ing to get to the pitcher,” Mey­ers said. “She has a nice lit­tle rise­ball and it’s tough be­cause we don’t get to see that much dur­ing the year. We try to train for it but she threw well.”

Krahling and Bilodeau said there was no prob­lem get­ting re­fo­cused for play­ing ex­tra in­nings.

“No be­cause I’ve al­ways said there’s go­ing to be a time when you’re up and a time when you’re down but don’t change the way you lean on each other,” Krahling said. “Stay fo­cused the whole en­tire time be­cause there’s 21 outs in a ball­game, there’s seven in­nings and they’re the same bats and balls. They don’t change any­thing.”

“We all wanted it re­ally bad and we were work­ing re­ally hard for it,” Bilodeau said, “so we weren’t go­ing to stop no mat­ter what.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

La Plata’s soft­ball team cel­e­brates af­ter seal­ing its 3-2, eight-in­ning win over the East­ern Tech Mav­er­icks in the 2A state semi­fi­nals at Bach­man Sports Com­plex in Glen Burnie on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

La Plata’s Alyssa Bilodeau hurls a pitch dur­ing the War­riors’ 2A state semi­fi­nal against the East­ern Tech Mav­er­icks at Bach­man Sports Com­plex in Glen Burnie on Wed­nes­day. Bilodeau struck out 12 in the War­riors’ 3-2, eight-in­ning win.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.