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Washington Post

MARYLAND SOFTBALL SEMIFINALS

Chesapeake Advances to Third Consecutive Title Game

Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 22, 2008; Page E09

For the second year in a row, Chesapeake's softball team tiptoed around the same trap in the 4A semifinals. Following a thrilling and emotional victory over Anne Arundel County rival Broadneck to win the 4A East Region title, the defending state champion Cougars entered the semifinals flat.

This time, unheralded Linganore put a scare into Chesapeake, but, once again, the second-ranked Cougars bit back. They scored five unanswered runs to hang on for a 10-4 victory at Bachman Sports Complex and advanced to the state final for the third straight season.

Chesapeake will play for its seventh state title Saturday at the University of Maryland at 6:30 p.m. against Sherwood, which defeated Eleanor Roosevelt, 3-0, in the evening's other semifinal. The Warriors gave Chesapeake its scare in last year's state semifinals, losing, 3-2. Sherwood is in the state final for the first time.

No Montgomery County school has won a title since Gaithersburg in 1999.

"We were aching to get another chance at them," Sherwood senior first baseman Kathy Holonich said. "We feel we could have and should have won states last year. This year, we lost a lot of players and people didn't expect a lot from us, so it feels really good to get here."

Sherwood (18-2) got all its offense in the bottom of the first inning, beginning with an RBI single by Holonich that scored Kelly Morrow. Shayna Popkin then scored on a groundout, and Jamie Karp drove in Holonich. That was plenty of support for junior pitcher Erin McMakin, who struck out 11 and allowed Eleanor Roosevelt (17-3) only one hit.

Meantime, on another field just a few yards away, there was plenty of offense between Chesapeake and Linganore. It wasn't a surprise coming from Chesapeake (23-2), which scored in double figures for the 12th time this season. The Cougars scored five times in the bottom of the second, capitalizing on two Linganore errors and a pair of hard RBI hits by juniors Amanda Montgomery and All-Met Lauren Gibson.

Linganore making its second straight state semifinal appearance, finished 18-2.

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