Vikings go toe-to-toe with state champs
RIDGELY — This prize title bout between 2A North Caroline and 1A CambridgeSouth Dorchester High went the distance Monday.
Each team took its best shots in a back-and-forth affair, but the Bulldogs prevailed 12-10 after trailing early. North Caroline hitters drove in eight of 12 runs with two outs.
Lauren Williamson and Ali Ward each had three RBIs with two outs. Megan Robbins also delivered a key two-run single with two outs, as the Bulldogs improved to 5-1 overall, 1-0 North Bayside
“We knew we could not let up against a great team C-SD team,” Bulldogs head coach Andrea Ward said. “We commended the girls on their two-out approach at the plate. They battled, and got a bunch of big two-out hits and drew some big twoout walks.
“Everyone on the team had some moment today where they contributed to get this victory,” Ward added. “Sure we made some mistakes, but they fought back. They showed us a lot today.”
The Vikings (6-2, 0-1) started fast with Madison Pleasants driving in Maddison Lednum with an RBI triple in the top of the first. Pleasants made it 2-0 when she scored on an error. Chloe Warrell’s RBI single to left plated Brooke Windsor to increase the lead to 3-0.
North Caroline countered with Ali Ward and Sarah Mast drawing walks against Pleasants. Kendall Dixon ripped an RBI single to plate Ali Ward. Courtesy runner Sarah Kintop stole home to cut the lead to 3-2. Pleasants ended the threat with consecutive strikeouts.
Bulldog pitcher Mackenzie Werner retired CSD in order to start the second. Her teammates gave her the lead by showcasing their speed in the bottom of second.
Azalie Haro walked then stole second. Ali Ward dropped a bunt and beat the throw to first. Haro ran hard from second and tied the game when the ball got away on the play at first.
Mast drew a walk, and then her and Ali Ward advanced on a double steal. Pleasants got a big strikeout of Dixon for the second out. But Robbins delivered a rocket to center for a tworun single and a 5-3 North Caroline lead.
The lead did not last long. Delanie Henry led off the third with a single, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Abby Robinson. Lednum then launched a two-run homer to tie the score at 5-5.
“What a great moment for Maddie,” C-SD head coach Kareem Otey said. “We got down, but she got us right back into with with a big home run. She’s that type of player. Always comes up big.”
Lednum’s home run also got praise from her competition. As she went back onto the field, North Caroline assistant Jody Ward tipped his cap to Lednum and told her she is a great player.
The Bulldogs regained the lead with two outs in the third on an RBI single by Williams to score Abi Trice for a 6-5 lead. Ali Ward’s single plated Haro.
C-SD hit the ball hard to open the top of the fourth, but North Caroline got to everything. Natalie Kerr lined out to Dixon at second. Then Adrienne Kane looked to have extra bases on a shot to left but Trice flashed the leather with a running catch along the line. A pop-out to Robbins at short ended the inning.
North Caroline extended its lead to 12-5 in the bottom of the fourth with more clutch two-out hits. Dixon led off with a single, then
scored on a passed ball to make it 8-5.
With two outs and the bases empty, Emily Ward battled Pleasants, fouling off five pitches before walking. Trice singled to left, and Haro walked to load the bases. Williamson ripped a single to left to score Emily Ward and Trice. Ali Ward followed with a two-run single to increase the lead to 12-5.
“We really put together great atbats,” Coach Ward said. “We kept telling the girls to wait, wait, wait, then go. Wait for your pitch then go for it. They worked the counts. They drew some walks. They converted with runners one.”
The Vikings stayed within striking distance with a four-run fifth. Robinson scored when the home plate umpire ruled an illegal pitch. Warrell’s two-run single to left cut the lead to 12-8. Pleasants then scored on an error to make it 12-9.
“I’m very proud of the heart the girls showed,” Otey said. “We got down big to a really great team, but they didn’t give up and they fought their way back.
“Chloe came up big again,” she added. “She is seeing the ball well, and getting hits all over. She is only a freshman. The sky is a the limit for Chloe.”
Werner pitched a big sixth against the top of C-SD’s order, getting Henry on a groundout, striking out Robinson, and inducing Lednum into a pop-out.
In the seventh, Werner got the first two batters out, but Warrell singled to center. Kerr then double to plate Warrell and cut the lead to 12-10. But the rally stopped there when Werner got a groundout to end the game.
“It is a tough loss but North Caroline is a very classy team,” Otey said. “After the game, they were telling our girls we played a great. That is a great complement from the 2A state champions.”
Werner got the win in a complete-game effort. Pleasants went the distance and took the loss.
Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Maddison Lednum launches a two-run home run against North Caroline Monday, April 9.
Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Maddison Lednum smiles after she hit a game-tying home run against North Caroline Monday, April 9.