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First-year ace Erin McMakin pitches a complete game and Sherwood scores three runs in the first inning in 7-3 win over Trojans (VIDEOS HERE)

Published: 05/18/2008

by Ryan Mink

The first kiss any of the Sherwood softball players got on the Saturday of the 2008 Prom was from Pat Flanagan.

The Sherwood coach doesn’t typically have a routine of laying a big one on her players after games, but overcome with emotion following the Warriors’ 7-3 win over Gaithersburg in the 4A West regional final, she went around the team huddle making sure her gesture didn't spare a single girl.

Flannagan had only once before kissed one of her players, but it came just this past week in the quarterfinals against Magruder when shortstop Taylor Stockinger smacked a home run.

“The kids were like, well you’ve never kissed any of us,” Flanagan said after spitting out and wiping off any high school cooties from her lips.  “Now I’ve set the stage for continued kissing.”

Thanks to a big first inning and solid pitching by Erin McMakin, Flanagan will have another chance as Sherwood will be in the state semifinals for a second straight year. The Warriors lost to Chesapeake, 3-2, in last year’s semis.

McMakin, who allowed just five hits while striking out 10 batters, was a late-season junior varsity call-up last year. She sat behind two-time Montgomery County Player of the Year Dana Ward, waiting for her chance this year.

“I just really really wanted to win,” McMakin said. “I want to go to states with this team because I think we can be really good. After we lost I just figured I’m going to be here next year and I want to get this.”

Sherwood graduated four seniors including All-Met catcher Katie Obal and Ward.

“People were just doubting us because we lost our pitcher from last year and they were like, ‘Sherwood’s not going to be as good as last year,’” senior first baseman Kathy Holonich said.

But Sherwood (17-2) has proven it has much more than star power. The Warriors banged out nine hits off the bats of seven different hitters to beat top-seeded Gaithersburg for the second time this season.

Kelly Morrow led off the game with a walk and was driven home on a triple by sophomore catcher Shayna Popkin. Holonich followed a batter later with a triple of her own and later scored on an groundout by Jessie Karp, giving Sherwood a 3-0 lead before Gaithersburg even took a swing.

The Trojans responded with two runs of their own in the first inning as Sarah Moses got on base with a single and Becca Kirshner walked. Moses scored on a single by Colleen Everett.

Neither team scored again until the top of the fifth when Sherwood put up three runs without an RBI hit. Taylor Stockinger led off with a single. She eventually came around to score on a wild pitch. McMakin reached on a one-out grounder and scored on a groundout by Jamie Karp. Jessie Karp reached on a single and scored on a passed ball.

Gaithersburg pushed across one run in the sixth on a Brittany Merek double that scored Kirshner from third. The Trojans had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh before McMakin induced a groundout to end the game.

“We’re such a team this year,” Popkin said. “We all contribute to all the wins and all the losses and when we work as a team we’re unbeatable. … Last year we lost in the state semis, but this year we’re going all the way.”
Erin McMakin tossed a complete game and scored one of three runs in the game-changing fifth inning.
Sherwood is back in the state semifinals, where it fell to Chesapeake last season.

Video Links
Taylor Stockinger Scores Run -
Emily Witt Scores Run -
Erin McMakin Interview -
Jessie Karp Scores Run -
Shayna Popkin Inteview -
Final Out -
Coach Flanagan Interview -
Kathy Holonich Interview -

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