Hur­ri­canes un­able to turn early power into big win

C.M. WRIGHT 6, HUNT­ING­TOWN 1

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY DIL­LON MUL­LAN dil­lon.mul­lan@wash­post.com

Hunt­ing­town shook the out­field fence with a trio of ex­tra­base hits dur­ing the first trip through its lineup in Satur­day’s Mary­land 3A soft­ball fi­nal. In be­tween, the Hur­ri­canes smacked line drives that some­how found in­field gloves and launched pop flies that stub­bornly re­mained in­side the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Soft­ball Com­plex.

Hunt­ing­town hoped these early loud outs were a sign of runs to come, but the of­fense dried up. C.M. Wright did not al­low a hit in the fi­nal four in­nings while the Mus­tangs’ of­fense put to­gether a pair of two-out ral­lies for a 6-1 win.

“We just fell apart,” Hunt­ing­town sopho­more pitcher Tori Fletcher said. “We made great con­tact early, but we didn’t keep it go­ing.”

Sopho­more first base­man Alexis Mann scored Hunt­ing­town’s only run af­ter ham­mer­ing a triple off the wall in right field in the sec­ond in­ning. Two bat­ters later, ju­nior Cal­lie Hil­gen­berg launched a dou­ble over the cen­ter fielder’s head. The last of Hunt­ing­town’s five hits was a dou­ble by se­nior Kai­ley Can­non in the third.

“We laid down too early to­day,” Mann said. “We should have scored some runs, but we just didn’t take ad­van­tage of any chance they gave us.”

While Hunt­ing­town (18-4) couldn’t find a hole, C.M. Wright (17-7) won the game with in­field hits and bloop sin­gles. With two outs and a run­ner on sec­ond in the fourth, Mann dived for a spin­ning popup that fell just out of her reach in­side the first base line to ex­tend the in­ning.

In the next at-bat, ju­nior Michelle Cisco hit a two-run dou­ble that gave the Bel Air school a 3-1 lead. With two outs in the sixth, a soft fly­ball fell be­tween Hunt­ing­town’s charg­ing sec­ond base­man, short­stop and cen­ter fielder. Two bat­ters later, Cisco de­liv­ered a three-run home run to seal the vic­tory.

“There were some things we couldn’t con­trol. Those bloop­ers, there’s noth­ing we can do about that,” Fletcher said. “There’s times when you know it’s your fault they’re hit­ting the ball, but I thought I was hit­ting my spots to­day. It’s just they had those two-out ral­lies.”

Fletcher struck out three bat­ters and al­lowed four of eight hits dur­ing the sixth in­ning. For much of the day, C.M. Wright brac­ing for fast­balls were fooled by crafty change-ups and move­ment.

Hunt­ing­town beat C.M. Wright in last year’s state semi­fi­nal be­fore blow­ing an early lead in a 10-5 loss to West­min­ster in the cham­pi­onship.

“Last year we were more down on our­selves. This year there wasn’t as many tears be­cause we know we should have taken ad­van­tage of what we had,” Mann said. “But we still have ju­nior and se­nior year.”

Hunt­ing­town loses three sen­bat­ters iors, but the rest of the team heads into the off­sea­son en­cour­aged by con­sec­u­tive trips to the state fi­nal and mo­ti­vated by their sour end­ings.

“We’re all ex­cited to come back next year,” Fletcher said.

JOHN MCDON­NELL/THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Hunt­ing­town pitcher Tori Fletcher kept C.M. Wright largely off-bal­ance, but the Mus­tangs turned a pair of two-out ral­lies into a 6-1 win over the Hur­ri­canes in the Mary­land 3A soft­ball cham­pi­onship.

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