Ea­gles lose to Hur­ri­canes

Perry de­liv­ers two-run dou­ble in sixth to push H-town soft­ball to 3-0

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

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.

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