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Warriors Softball 2008
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Montgomery County Gazette

Chesapeake’s Gibson tells Warriors ‘no-no’

Chesapeake junior throws no-hitter against Sherwood in Class 4A state softball championship game

by James Peters | Staff Writer
 

Charles E. Shoemaker⁄The Gazette
Sherwood’s Kathy Holonich (17) dives safely into third base as Chesapeake’s Alexis Matula (9) tries to tag her out.
 
It was a marquee matchup to be sure. Two of the best pitchers in the state dueling it out for the Class 4A state softball title Saturday evening at the University of Maryland in College Park.

But in the end, there was really only one star: Chesapeake High’s Lauren Gibson.

The junior not only dominated, but threw a no-hitter against Sherwood as the Cougars won 7-0 for their second straight state title and seventh overall.

‘‘We knew what kind of pitcher she is [and] what she throws,” said Sherwood Coach Pat Flanagan, whose team fell to Chesapeake and Gibson, 3-2, in last year’s state semifinals. ‘‘We just picked a bad day for the bats to go dead. This is the first time we’ve been shut out all season. You can’t take anything away from her. She’s a great pitcher.”

Great, and almost perfect. Gibson (17-2 record) was one walk away from a perfect game. She struck out 11 of the 22 Warriors who stepped up to the plate and only one, pitching counterpart Erin McMakin, got the ball out of the infield – a flyout to shallow center field. Kathy Holonich was the only player to reach for Sherwood when she drew a walk to lead off the fifth inning.

Gibson, who entered the state playoffs with 145 strikeouts in 106 innings, struck out four straight at one point and had at least one in every inning. Sherwood’s closest hit came in the bottom of the seventh on a swinging bunt by Shayna Popkin but Gibson pounced on the ball and threw Popkin out just before she reached first.

‘‘We practiced a lot on our hitting and getting ready for the faster pitcher and getting ready for all of our pitches,” said Sherwood junior shortstop Taylor Stockinger, who entered the state tournament with a .442 batting average, three home runs and 23 runs batted in. ‘‘We hit a lot in practice. I think everyone got here, all the nerves, being here for the first time, caught up with us.”

Gibson kept Sherwood on its heels through a mix of her sizzling fastball and a pair of off-speed pitches — a curveball and a change-up.

‘‘My curveball was working and my change-up was working a lot,” she said. ‘‘Today my change-up was probably the pitch I went to when I went deep [in the count] and it was probably the pitch I threw the most today. I’ve been working on it a lot and it’s come a long way since last year.”

McMakin, who fell to 17-3, the same record as her team, held Chesapeake, a team that averaged 8.3 runs per game, scoreless in five of her seven innings, but the Cougars (24-2) touched her for three runs in the second and four in the sixth.

Sherwood reached the state final for the first time in school history and did so despite the loss of its all-world battery of Dana Ward and Katie Obal from a year ago.

‘‘Getting here was one of our main goals of the season,” Stockinger said. ‘‘People are upset but at least we got here.”

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