Cu­sic tosses Hugh­esville into state tour­ney

No-hit­ter qui­ets St. Mary’s bats for Dis­trict 7 soft­ball title

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

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.

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