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Warriors Softball 2008

Go To Sherwood - Chesapeake
 MPSSAA State Finals Picture Page


Junior strikes out 11, Stasch hits two triples and drives in five runs in 7-0 victory (VIDEO CLIPS here!)

by Aaron Gray

After both teams lined up on the base paths and Chesapeake High School junior pitcher Lauren Gibson was announced to receive her state championship plaque, players from an already downed Sherwood squad asked the same question that has haunted opponents all season.

"She's only a junior?"

Hard to believe, isn't it?

Gibson finished with 11 strikeouts and no-hit the Warriors to lead her star-studded team to a second straight Class 4A state finals crown with a 7-0 victory in front of a packed crowd at the University of Maryland's Robert E. Taylor Stadium on Saturday night.

Chesapeake (24-2), out of Anne Arundel County, played in its fourth state title game in five years and won its seven state championship. Sherwood, which fell to the Cougars in last year's semifinals, made its first state championship appearance and finished the season 18-3.

It was the second season in a row, Gibson, who verbally committed to the University of Tennessee last summer, did not allow a hit in the state championship. In 2007, she fanned 13 en route to a 2-0 win over Damascus.

"Lauren throwing back-to-back no-hitters in the finals is pretty much unheard of," said Chesapeake coach Don Ellenberger, who has started Gibson in the circle for the state championship three times in as many years. "She wants it bad. She goes out and makes it happen."

The Cougars' offense hit another gear in the postseason and the team has been praised for having players in every spot that can have a big night. On Saturday, it was Erika Stasch. The senior center fielder went 3-for-4 with two triple and five RBIs.

"Erika put it together today and we rode her back offensively," Ellenberger said.

She cleared the bases in the second inning to open a 3-0 lead when her triple hit the wall in right field. She did it again in the sixth with two runners on.

"I guess you could say that tonight was my night but everyone hit," said Stasch, a Towson signee. "Everyone did their part and Gibson pitched great. We had solid defense behind her when they put it in play."

Gibson was a base-runner away -- Sherwood first baseman Kathy Holonich reached on a walk in the fifth -- from a perfect game as a stingy Cougar defense made several plays to keep the no-no intact.

Stasch made a sliding catch in the second off a shallow fly ball from Warriors' pitcher Erin McMakin and freshman catcher Gabby Couture fielded several dangerous bunts near home plate. In the seventh, Gibson took over with two personal putouts -- she bare-handed a softly hit ball down the third-base line -- and tallied a strikeout on Holonich, the Warriors' cleanup hitter, for the final out.

"This was a great accomplishment in my career," said Gibson, who clubbed an RBI-double in the sixth to open the seven-run lead.

"A win like this is just amazing. This is the most fun I've had in a while. The team is amazing and we blend so well together. On the field with these girls just makes my day."

Sherwood received its second postseason dose of Gibson in two years and it left a sour aftertaste, Warriors coach Pat Flanagan said.

"(Lauren) is amazing -- I was hoping she was a senior," Flannigan said. "She just gets better every year. I've been coaching 32 years and she may be one of the smartest players I've seen. She's an all-around player that every coaches dreams about and unfortunately, she plays for Chesapeake."

McMakin, Sherwood's starter, finished with three strikeouts. Flannigan pointed out that her team is still very young and should lose five starters.

"Before next year, I'm going to work on my slice," joked Flannigan, who retired from teaching in Montgomery County four years ago, lives in Florida and travels back to Maryland every spring to coach.

"We're pretty young so we have to work on some stuff. This will be a blow for a couple of them so we'll start with their confidence."

Junior left fielder Megan Butzer reached base twice in three appearances for Chesapeake and junior second baseman Kelly Hickman, who was instrumental in the Cougars' run through the playoffs, added a stand-up double in the fifth.

Freshman Brianna Prince led off the sixth with a sharp single to left. The ball got by senior left fielder Erin Ryan and rolled to the wall, which allowed Prince to score with a head-first slide.

"It's just great for my seniors to go out on top," Ellenberger said. "Lauren Gottleib, Angela Yannone, Sam Pettie and Erika -- they've been here for four years and they've given everything to this program. I'm just really happy they get to go out with back-to-back state titles."

Yannone will play next year at UMBC and Pettie is headed to Delaware.

Chesapeake (24-2)    030 004 0 - 7 9 0
Sherwood (18-3)       000 000 0 - 0 0 2
WP: CH - Gibson (17-2). LP: SH - McMakin (18-3). 2B: CH- Gibson, Hickman. 3B: CH- Stasch 2. RBI: CH- Stasch 5, Gibson.

Video Links

Erin McMakin Strikes Out Lauren Gibson -

Jamie Karp Throws Out Runner At First -

Erin McMakin Forces Out Runner At Home -

Erin McMakin Strikes Out Brianna Prince -

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