It’s state ti­tle week­end in Mary­land, with tro­phies earned in track and field, ten­nis and soft­ball.


The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY JESSE DOUGHERTY jesse.dougherty@wash­

Am­ber Yuille’s cel­e­bra­tions grew a bit more col­or­ful as each in­ning ended.

At the end of the fourth, North­west’s fresh­man pitcher got a swing­ing strike­out, hopped into the air and pumped her first once.

At the end of the fifth, an­other swing­ing pun­chout led Yuille to hop twice, onto her right foot and then her left, be­fore bounc­ing into the dugout.

At the end of the sixth, she caught a bat­ter look­ing and danced into the wait­ing arms of first base­man Kay­lah Qas­sis.

That left one more in­ning sep­a­rat­ing No. 6 North­west from the first state soft­ball ti­tle in school his­tory. So when Yuille got Sherwood’s Christi Mathis to fly out to left field, punc­tu­at­ing the Jaguars’ 8-4 win over the War­riors on Satur­day, she ran to­ward home plate and was tack­led by catcher Alex Bowen.

It was the first time in six springs Sherwood didn’t fin­ish as Mary­land’s 4A cham­pion.

North­west scored five runs in the bot­tom of the first in­ning in Col­lege Park, a to­tal the War­riors never reached.

Yuille gave up four runs on seven hits and blanked No. 5 Sherwood in the sec­ond, third, fourth and fifth in­nings as the Jaguars (20-2) built a lead for her to pro­tect.

“It’s just so fun out here, and we just wanted this so badly,” Yuille said. “That’s why I couldn’t con­tain my emo­tions as the game went on. I had to let it out.”

On March 25, Sherwood car­ried a 105-game win streak into a home meet­ing with North­west.

The Jaguars, un­de­terred by the War­riors’ sus­tained dom­i­nance, left that evening with a 9-5 win and a be­lief that they could snap two Sherwood streaks in one sea­son. Do­ing so be­came a team ral­ly­ing cry.

“From March 1 on we just al­ways said it, ‘Beat Sherwood. Beat Sherwood,’ ” North­west Coach Mike Hor­ton said. “I didn’t want these girls to be in­tim­i­dated by the al­lure of Sherwood and all suc­cess. And we knew we’d have to go through them twice to win it all.”

That is what they did Satur­day, us­ing a first-in­ning rally as a spring­board to what no other North­west soft­ball team had ac­com­plished.

Sherwood (18-2) pushed ahead with two runs in the top of the first, but the Jaguars im­me­di­ately threw a counter punch.

Their first three bat­ters reached base in the bot­tom of the in­ning, and Emily Wi­ley’s tworun sin­gle helped hang five on the score­board.

From there, Yuille and the field­ers be­hind her kept the War­riors at a safe dis­tance. The inits nings started to pass quickly. Runs be­came harder to come by. Yuille found a rhythm — with her pitches and fist pumps — and in time her cel­e­bra­tion in­cluded the whole team.

“How could you not get ex­cited?” Yuille said. “I mean, we won it all.”


Han­nah St. Lau­rent walks off the field as North­west ex­ults. “I didn’t want these girls to be in­tim­i­dated,” Jaguars Coach Mike Hor­ton said.

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