Cusic tosses Hughesville into state tourney
No-hitter quiets St. Mary’s bats for District 7 softball title
If pitching is going to be the key to winning a state championship, Hughesville might be in great shape to do so after defeating St. Mary’s 14-1 in five innings to win the Maryland District 7 9to 10-year-old District 7 softball tournament Sunday at Dunkirk District Park.
Hughesville, which fell to St. Mary’s in the title game last year, scored in every inning to exact revenge and advance to the state tournament, which begins July 23 in Hagerstown.
“We thought we had a shot at the beginning of the year,” Hughesville head coach Rob Elrod said. “We knew once we got to the championship, it would come down to pitching and hitting and it did.”
Elrod said his goal at states is “to win. We want to win states.”
“I want to win just like we did here,” Hughesville pitcher Sam Cusic said. “We have to play as a team, try hard and do our best.”
And Cusic practiced what she preached against St. Mary’s as she threw a no-hitter. The rising sixth-grader at Margaret Brent Middle School in Helen struck out 10 and walked three, one of which came around to score. Another batter reached base on an error.
“Mostly just fastballs, but I throw some change-ups and some that kind of kind of drop and some that kind of move,” Cusic said, clutching the game ball. “I just wanted to throw hard the best I could and win.”
Cusic retired the last six hitters, including the last five by strikeout. She tossed a five-inning one-hitter Saturday against St. Mary’s, which relegated St. Mary’s to the consolation bracket.
“If she has a bad pitch, she doesn’t get upset about it. If the catcher misses the ball, she tells her, ‘Good job, you’ll get the next one,’” Elrod said. “She’s very composed on the mound and doesn’t get rattled and you have to have that, especially in high pressure situations.”
Savannah Hardesty allowed seven hits, walked eight and fanned five for St. Mary’s.
“Their pitcher throws hard
and she throws strikes,” Elrod said.
Hughesville won the coin flip but deferred and was the visiting team and the strategy appeared to work as it scored three runs in the top of the first inning on an RBI double from Kit Shrewsbury, a run-scoring single off the bat of Delanna Albertson and an RBI groundout from Natalie Wilkes. Hughesville tacked on two more runs in the second when Kaylee Overby reached on a bunt single and Carina Elrod walked. Both runners stole a base and Overby crossed the plate on Makayla Cross’ groundout. Elrod later scored on an error.
Hughesville added another run in the third on a two-out rally. Camryn Cook walked, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.
Albertson’s two-run single highlighted a four-run fourth and Hughesville tacked on four more runs in the fifth.
“She was mainly throwing fastballs,” Albertson said, “[but] it didn’t really matter where [the pitch was].”
Albertson, a rising fifth-grader at T.C. Martin Elementary School in Bryantown, was 3 for 4 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.
“Delanna really hit the ball great all weekend,” said Elrod, who moved her from the ninth spot in the order to the fifth because of how well she was hitting. “She’s a kid who every time you watch her gets better and better. And yesterday she hit the ball all day, and today she hit the ball and she hit it hard and that’s what we wanted from her. She did us proud.”
St. Mary’s scored its lone run of the game in the last of the fourth on Abby Boyd’s groundout.
“We have a fairly young team, so I was very impressed with the way they played against a team that’s been together for a little while,” St. Mary’s head coach Amanda Johnston said. “I was just very impressed with the way they competed against these girls, even with a loss.”
Manager Rob Elrod is being doused by Robert Overby in celebration after Hughesville defeated St. Mary’s 14-1 in five innings to win the Maryland District 7 9-10 softball championship on Sunday at Dunkirk Park.
Hughesville defeated St. Mary’s 14-1 in five innings in Sunday’s Maryland District 7 9-10 softball championship game to advance to the state tournament July 23 in Hagerstown.