Eagles lose to Hurricanes
Perry delivers two-run double in sixth to push H-town softball to 3-0
After opening the season with victories over Chopticon High School and Northern High School, two perennial powers in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, the North Point High School softball team appeared on the verge of completing an early league hat trick when it owned a 2-1 lead after five innings over visiting Huntingtown on Monday afternoon in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision contest.
But in the top of the sixth, after being afforded limited scoring chances against North Point senior ace Bri Baker, the Huntingtown bats came alive and the Hurricanes took advantage of one Eagles error and junior third baseman Paxton Perry delivered a tworun double to lift the visitors to a 4-2 victory on Monday in the clash of previously unbeaten teams.
North Point (2-1) had upended Chopticon, 18-11, in the season opener then rallied for a dramatic 6-5 victory over Northern last Friday. On Monday afternoon, the Eagles had a good remedy early as sophomore shortstop Katie Delph tripled and scored in the first inning on a single by catcher Jaelyn Baker and then Delph walked, stole second and scored on a triple by Bri Baker in the third.
“Give North Point credit, they hit the ball well and they played a great game,” Huntingtown head coach Mike Johnson said. “[North Point head coach] Tony [Jones] has done a really good with that program. We were pretty quiet early. We needed a break to get us going and we were finally able to get one and then Paxton came through with a big hit.”
Huntingtown (3-0) got an unearned run against Bri Baker in the second when Taylor Beach reached on a two-base error, took second on a groundout and then scored when Eagles first baseman Keiara Carey misplayed a grounder by Kailey Cannon. The Hurricanes had the tying run aboard in both the fourth and fifth innings, but Bri Baker escaped unharmed in those frames.
Trailing 2-1 heading to the top of the sixth, Beach delivered a one-out single to right and Jaden Vermillion followed with another single to right. With two runners
aboard, Cannon again hit a sharp grounder that Carey misplayed and Beach scored the tying run. With one out and two on, Perry belted a two-run double in the gap in left center, plating Vermillion and Cannon.
“We were somewhat mellow for the first four or five innings,” said Perry, who played field hockey for the Hurricanes in the fall. “We finally had a chance to wake up in the sixth. I was just hoping to come through for my team. We really had not done much up until that point.”
Working with a lead for the first time on the afternoon, Huntingtown hurler Tori Fletcher seemed unwilling to relinquish it. She yielded a oneout infield single to Carey in the sixth before fanning the next two Eagles, then she struck out the first two batters in the seventh before Hurricanes right fielder Vermillion robbed North Point’s Gabby Cross of a bloop single for the final out.
“These girls have played so well for the first three games of the season,” Jones said. “We opened by beating Chopticon and then we came from behind to beat Northern last Friday. We were right there again today. We just had a couple of mistakes and good teams like Huntingtown are going to find a way to take advantage of those mistakes. But I’m proud of my girls for the way they fought today against another really good team.”
Since she spent much of the game trailing, Fletcher’s performance nearly got overshadowed. The Hurricanes ace allowed two runs on only five hits, two walks and one hit batter and she fanned 14 Eagles, one shy of reaching a sum that would have coincidentally matched her jersey number 15. The total number of strikeouts even alluded her head coach.
“She wasn’t as sharp today as she usually is,” Johnson said of Fletcher. “I would have never guessed that she had that many strikeouts. But that shows you how good she is that she can basically have an off day and still have 14 strikeouts.”
Huntingtown is scheduled to host St. Charles on Wednesday, while North Point is slated to host La Plata. Both contests are scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK North Point High School senior pitcher Bri Baker fires home in the top of the second inning against Huntingtown on Monday afternoon. Baker and the Eagles led 2-1 through five innings, but the Hurricanes rallied for a 4-2 victory on a two-run double by Huntingtown third baseman Paxton Perry.
STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK North Point High School sophomore shortstop Katie Delph stands on third base after a one-out triple in the bottom of the first inning as Huntingtown third baseman Paxton Perry anticipates a bunt. Delph scored both runs for the Eagles, but Perry eventually delivered a two-run double that proved the difference in the Hurricanes 4-2 victory on Monday.