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Montgomery County Gazette

Sherwood pitcher shuts down Roosevelt in softball semifinal


by Ted Black | Staff Writer

Raphael Talisman⁄The Gazette
Sherwood High School’s Brittany Smith, right, hugs teammate Kat Correa after Sherwood’s 3-0 victory over Eleanor Roosevelt High School in the Class 4A state softball semifinal game at Bachman Softball Park in Glen Burnie Wednesday.
In the aftermath of her team's 3-0 victory against Eleanor Roosevelt in a 4A state semifinal contest Wednesday evening, Sherwood High School softball coach Pat Flanagan heaped praise on her pitcher and her supporting cast.

Relying primarily on her fastball and occasionally tossing a riseball and changeup to throw off the timing of the Roosevelt batters, Sherwood junior left-hander Erin McMakin blanked the Raiders on three hits and three walks while striking out 11. McMakin committed her team's only error in the third, while the rest of her fielders flawlessly provided plenty of support.

‘‘She's done a great job for us all season,” Flanagan said of McMakin, who helped the Warriors improve to 18-2 while throwing strikes on 65 of 106 pitches. ‘‘Those three runs that we scored in the first inning really took a lot of pressure off of her. Anytime she throws a ground ball, she knows that our infielders are going to make the plays. Our shortstop [Taylor Stockinger] and first baseman [Kathy Holonich] have played great defense all season.”

Sherwood will face defending 4A state champion Chesapeake at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the University of Maryland. The Cougars, led by senior right-handed pitcher Lauren Gibson, disposed of Linganore, 11-4, Wednesday evening in the other 4A state semifinal. Chesapeake defeated Sherwood 3-2 last year in a 4A state semifinal en route to its sixth state title, while the Warriors are still in quest of their first championship. Flanagan was cautiously optimistic about her team's chances in the rematch.

‘‘They're a very good team and Lauren Gibson is excellent,” Flanagan said. ‘‘She has a great fastball and changeup and you can't make any mistakes against her when she's batting. It was a tough loss for our girls here a year ago. We're looking forward to a chance to play them for the state title.”

Sherwood scored three runs in the bottom of the first against Roosevelt junior pitcher Erin Cocchiaro, but the Warriors squandered a bevy of other scoring chances throughout the contest. Sherwood batters collected nine hits and five walks, but the Warriors were plagued by base running mistakes that cost them several potential big innings and eventually led to 10 runners being left stranded.

In the first inning, Kelly Morrow drew a leadoff walk, Shayna Popkin singled and Morrow scored on a wild pitch with Stockinger at the plate. Holonich then singled up the middle to score Popkin. After McMakin walked and was replaced by courtesy runner Leah Rufus, Jessie Karp reached on a fielder's choice and then Jamie Karp singled up the middle to score Rufus. Erin Ryan then popped up to shortstop Meagan Gontarek to end the inning.

Sherwood would have numerous chances to break the game wide open, but the combination of Warriors' base running mistakes and superb defensive plays by Roosevelt fielders erased several potential big innings.

Kat Correa led off the second inning with an infield single then was thrown out trying to steal second. Morrow followed with a bloop double down the right field line and Popkin singled to left field. Morrow attempted to score on Popkin's shallow base hit, but was thrown out at the plate when senior left fielder Erin Snyder fired to catcher Lindsey Hood.

In the fourth, Sherwood had the bases loaded and one out. But Stockinger hit a line shot at Roosevelt third baseman Amanda King, who caught the ball for the second out and doubled Correa off third to end the inning.

Sherwood loaded the bases in the sixth when Correa reached on a fielder's choice, Morrow singled and Popkin walked. But this time Cocchiaro got out of the jam by retiring Stockinger on a pop up on a 3-1 pitch and then got Holonich when Gontarek made a running grab behind third base for the last out.

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