Top 5 can’t-miss Ce­cil County soft­ball games of 2018

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS -

CE­CIL COUNTY — Fresh off its first state cham­pi­onship since 1995, the Bohemia Manor soft­ball team will hit the field this spring aim­ing to make it two-in-a-row. Mean­while, four other Ce­cil County teams will take to the di­a­mond hop­ing for their own mag­i­cal sea­son. Be­low are the county’s top-five must-watch soft­ball games of 2018. Ris­ing Sun at Per­ryville

March 26 at 3:30 p.m. They’ll play each other twice dur­ing the year, but the first matchup be­tween Ris­ing Sun and Per­ryville will pro­vide a great earl­y­sea­son show­ing be­tween a pair of tal­ented pro­grams. Both teams made ex­tended play­off runs in 2017, with the Tigers ad­vanc­ing to the 2A East Re­gion Fi­nal and Per­ryville, one year re­moved from a state ti­tle, fall­ing to even­tual state cham­pion Bo Manor in the 1A North Sec­tion I Fi­nal.

Ce­cil County has some of the top soft­ball pro­grams in the state and this is an un­der­rated bat­tle be­tween two of them. The ri­vals will face off again at Ris­ing Sun on April 18—roughly two weeks be­fore the start of the post­sea­son. North East at Elk­ton March 28 at 3:30 p.m. Elk­ton may be Ce­cil County’s only team in the Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion but its out to prove it can hang with its Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion ri­vals af­ter a 10-win sea­son a year ago. The Golden Elks will host North East in this Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon bat­tle be­fore both teams dive deep into their di­vi­sion sched­ules.

The In­di­ans have won four play­off games the last two years and will pro­vide a stiff test for Elk­ton, which could very well see its county ri­val when the 2A East Re­gion play- offs tee off a lit­tle more than a month later. Ris­ing Sun at North East

April 30 at 3:30 p.m. The seem­ingly an­nual post­sea­son show­down be­tween arch-ri­vals Ris­ing Sun and North East has gone two dif­fer­ent direc­tions the past two years. The In­di­ans edged the Tigers in 2016 en route to the 2A state semi­fi­nals, while Ris­ing Sun topped North East last May on its way to the East Re­gion Fi­nal.

Once again, the two pro­grams will play twice in the reg­u­lar sea­son, with their April 30 matchup com­ing just one week be­fore a po­ten­tial post­sea­son re­match. In­ter­est­ing to note, over the last two years, which­ever team won this late-sea­son con­test pro­ceeded to win again in the play­offs only a few days later. Bohemia Manor at John Car­roll

April 24 at 3:30 p.m. Bohemia Manor proved it was one of the best teams in the state of Mary­land a year ago when it cap­tured the 1A state crown. Across the Susque­hanna River, the pri­vate school John Car­roll did the same as it won the IAAM A Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­onship. Both teams will face off in late April in a can’t-miss, non-con­fer­ence show­down.

The con­test will be high­lighted by a pair of tal­ented lo­cal sopho­mores. Ea­gles pitcher Mad­die Penta, who cap­tured All-County Player of the Year hon­ors, will likely toe the rub­ber af­ter a fresh­man sea­son in which she posted 245 strike­outs and zero earned runs over 100 2/3 in­nings. She will face Patriot’s out­fielder and Per­ryville na­tive Emma Rit­ter, who earned All-Metro hon­ors af­ter bat­ting .643 with eight home runs, 36 RBI and 29 runs scored. Upon grad­u­at­ing in three years, both play­ers are lined up to play for Di­vi­sion I schools. Bohemia Manor at Per­ryville

April 25 at 3:30 p.m. In what will likely be the sec­ond of three games be­tween the arch ri­vals, the Ea­gles will host the Pan­thers in late April in Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion ac­tion. Bo Manor swept the reg­u­lar-sea­son se­ries a year ago, in­clud­ing its March 29, 2017 bat­tle when it wiped out a no-hit­ter in the sev­enth in­ning and later clubbed a walk-off grand slam in ex­tra in­nings.

This con­test will be a primer for a po­ten­tial matchup two weeks later when the two teams are ex­pected to bat­tle in the play­offs. The past two years, the win­ner of the post­sea­son con­test be­tween the Ea­gles and Pan­thers went on to win the 1A state cham­pi­onship. With re­turn­ing tal­ent on both sides, it wouldn’t be ou­tra­geous to as­sume a sim­i­lar out­come this May.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO BY SCOTT SERIO

The Bohemia Manor and Per­ryville soft­ball teams will face off twice in the reg­u­lar sea­son and are ex­pected to meet in the 1A play­offs. The last two years, the win­ner of their post­sea­son show­down went on to win the state cham­pi­onship.

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