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,"
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
"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
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.
Erin McMakin Strikes Out Lauren Gibson - http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1569924759/bclid1571609506/bctid1571349363
Jamie Karp Throws Out Runner At First - http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1569924759/bclid1571609506/bctid1571653376
Erin McMakin Forces Out Runner At Home - http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1569924759/bclid1571609506/bctid1571653383
Erin McMakin Strikes Out Brianna Prince - http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1569924759/bclid1571609506/bctid1571653380