October 16, 2018
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  • Severna Park softball players rejoice after the final out of Tuesday's 3-1 win over Chesapeake in the county championship game at Bachman Park. The Falcons are 19-2 overall and the No. 1 seed in the 4A East region tournament.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Severna Park softball players rejoice after the final out of Tuesday's 3-1 win over Chesapeake in the county championship game at Bachman Park. The Falcons are 19-2 overall and the No. 1 seed in the 4A East region tournament.

Severna Park Girls Are County Champs With 3-1 Win Over Chesapeake

Colin Murphy
View Bio
May 9, 2018

It was the matchup they wanted, and the Severna Park girls made the most of it.

In a two-hour display of poised play and steady execution, the Falcons combined strong pitching, timely hitting, sensational defensive playmaking and a team-wide burst of championship energy to defeat Chesapeake 3-1 and claim the 2018 Anne Arundel County championship at Bachman Park on Tuesday.

It was the first loss of the season for the Cougars (20-1) and a redemption outing for the Falcons (19-2), who fell 5-4 to Chesapeake on April 20 but carried the day in the rematch of two of Maryland’s best teams.

Senior pitcher Marissa Heuer worked out of an early jam, scattered five hits and struck out nine batters to earn the victory for Severna Park. Cambell Kline came up with a big two-RBI single off Chesapeake’s Haley Downin in the second inning to put the Falcons on course for the win. Abby Becker and Emily Summers had three hits apiece and both shined defensively for Severna Park, which combined with Chesapeake to give spectators a great contest on a beautiful May afternoon.

“It feels so good,” said Heuer. “Our defense was so good today. Everybody was loud on the bench. We were in this game and hungry to win. It’s a great team win, so we’re really excited.”

Said Kline, “I think we were really excited to come into this game, because we really wanted this one. We really want all of them, but this one is one we’ve been wanting for so long because of the last time we played them, it was such a close game, and our hearts were still racing. We just took ourselves from that game and just placed ourselves into today, and our hearts are still racing.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park softball vs. Chesapeake, Anne Arundel County championship game, 5.8.18

The Falcons conceded being overly excited for the April matchup with Chesapeake — Severna Park coach Meredith McAlister said they were practically “jumping through the roof” when the teams squared off a little more than two weeks ago — but they stayed cool under pressure on Tuesday. Heuer allowed a leadoff hit to Downin, and a walk to Brionna Bowman gave Chesapeake two runners on, but Heuer struck out Tristyn Stewart, Abby Muller and Jerzie Nutile to escape the first-inning jam unscathed.

Severna Park managed a pair of base runners in the first inning without pushing any across home plate, but they broke through in the second inning. Becker led off with a single, Summers followed with a base hit, and both batters were moved over by Madison Gerard’s sacrifice. Up came Kline, who hit a sharp grounder up the middle that got through the defense to plate Makenzie Rice (pinch running for Becker) and Summers, giving the Falcons a 2-0 lead:

The score remained the same over the next few innings courtesy of a few defensive gems. In the bottom of the third, Downin was on second base when Bowman hit a deep fly to right-center. Thinking it would drop for a hit, Downin drifted off second base, only to see Summers track down the ball, glove it and gun to second for an inning-ending double play.

Chesapeake got another runner in the bottom of the fifth when Kexin Wang singled with one out, but Becker shot her down when she attempted to steal second. Heuer struck out Courtney Croson one pitch later to get Severna Park to the sixth still leading 2-0.

The Falcons tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth. Jessie Smith singled, and Rice, who pinch ran for Smith, came around to score on a hit by Kylie Dingess.

Severna Park may have had a fourth run if not for a great defensive play by the Cougars. Peyton Sullivan, pinch running for Dingess, was waved in on a double to left field by Emma Hall, but Chesapeake left fielder Croson threw to Nutile at short, who relayed a perfect throw home to catcher Stewart to nail Sullivan at the plate and end the inning, eliciting a roar of cheers from Chesapeake families sitting along the third-base side.

After the stellar defensive play saved a run, the Cougars took their turn to mount a threat. Downin led off with a single and came around to score on a hit by Bowman to get Chesapeake to within 3-1. But Heuer got Muller to ground out and struck out Nutile to retire the side.

The play of the day came in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Chesapeake’s Charli Smith walked to give the Cougars a base runner, and Sarah Schappert came on to pinch run. Wang belted a deep drive to the corner in right field, certain to drop for a base hit, but Summers made a great jump on the ball, tracked it perfectly and made an amazing, over-the-shoulder, Willie-Mays-style grab for the out.

Schappert was past second base thinking she’d have a chance to score on Wang’s drive. Summers turned and threw immediately to first to double up Schappert for a game-ending double play.

Half the Falcons came charging out of the dugout to mob Heuer in the middle of the field. The other half came crashing into Summers in celebration. The two halves united near second base, jumping up and down in a county-championship team hug.

“I just know Marissa has been pitching her heart out on the mound, and I was just there to back her up,” said Summers. “I saw the ball and thought I could catch it, and I went for it. I thought I was going to run into the fence.”

Said Heuer, “Emily catching that ball, I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ She backed me up.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park softball vs. Chesapeake, Anne Arundel County championship game, 5.8.18

The teams will both live to fight another day. Chesapeake is a No. 1 seed in the 3A East, and Severna Park is a No. 1 seed in the 4A East. Both have first-round byes and begin their playoff quests on Monday.

“Today’s game was a great game probably for spectators and everything else,” said Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger. “Both teams were kind of tight at the beginning, and we weren’t able to break through in the first inning when we had the opportunity, and they collected a couple of hits, we made a couple bonehead plays in the second that allowed them to get a couple runs. From then on, it was some odd plays here and there, some calls I’ll disagree with, but bottom line is, they beat us. I wish them well, and just like us, to go on and represent Anne Arundel County in states. They’re going to have a great run in the 4A, and I hope we can represent in the 3A.”

McAlister said her team stayed calm and in control.

“Any given day with the two of us,” McAlister said. “The last game was 5-4, and we came out and we were really like jumping through the roof. So we talked about being a little more calm and settled in. …We both came after it, and we just got what we needed tonight.”

Kline said the team has had a great spirit throughout the season.

“We’ve had a lot of energy all year, and our dugout is one of the main impacts for our plays and just hitting in general. So when we have our loud dugout, it helps a lot.”

Summers said the team’s fire is lit. The Falcons’ plans as they enter into the region tournament next week?

“Just stay hungry,” Summers said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park softball vs. Chesapeake, Anne Arundel County championship game, 5.8.18

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