Patterson Mill 9, Boonsboro 1
Led by Syracuse-bound senior ace Madison Knight, the undefeated Huskies (21-0) pulled away from the Warriors (17-6) at the Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie.
Knight pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run — on a first-inning home run by Haylee Hartman — on five hits while striking out 12 to lead Patterson Mill, which went 22-0 en route to the 1A state title in 2021.
Knight has allowed four earned runs in 126 innings this season, striking out 286.
Boonsboro wasn't intimidated, coming out swinging from the first pitch. Hartman — the second batter of the game — sent a drive to right center that Huskies center fielder Kenzie Knight almost caught at the temporary fence, but it glanced off the top of her glove and landed beyond the fence as she fell into it. Hartman circled the bases for the 1-0 lead.
The Warriors were not done. Sydney Hartle walked, Emmalee Burker singled and Mackenzie Griffith reached on a dropped third strike to load the bases. But Madison Knight struck out the next two hitters to get out of the jam.
“I was super proud of the girls. We were the underdogs all the way,” said Boonsboro coach Mark Wadel. “We scored one in the first inning and had the bases loaded against her. Super proud of the way the kids battled.”
Patterson Mill tied the game at 1 in the second inning on Audrey March's RBI single to center, scoring Ali Kirsch, who doubled earlier in the frame. The throw home beat Kirsch, but she was ruled to have avoided the tag on her face-first slide.
The Huskies took a 4-1 lead with a three-run third. Tara Caprinolo hit an RBI double up the first-base line, and an RBI fielder's choice grounder and an RBI groundout scored the other two runs.
An RBI groundout following singles by Madison Knight and Caprinolo made it 5-1 in the fifth, and Patterson Mill added four runs in the sixth. Kenzie Knight and Caprinolo hit RBI singles.
Boonsboro did not have senior ace Maddy Taylor in the lineup, as she remained hobbled after getting hit in the ankle with an errant throw running to first base in the region final against Williamsport.
“She tried her butt off to be able to play,” Wadel said. “At the end of last week she was on crutches, so she's made incredible progress.
“We weren't supposed to be here. We were the five seed (in the state tournament), we were the three seed in our own region. They're mostly a young group of kids. Because they're so young, they didn't let the pressure get to them. They were just out here trying to play and have fun. I had three good senior leaders (Taylor, Natalee Hartman and Kendall Sisler), but for the most part we were sophomores and freshmen.”
Boonsboro 3, Mardela 1
Boonsboro scored two runs in the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie, and Ava Nelson went the distance in the circle as the Warriors won on the road and advanced to the state semifinals.
The Warriors (17-5) will face Patterson Mill on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie.
No. 9-hitter Breean Gay hit an RBI single for the go-ahead run in the sixth, and Sage Haller followed with a sacrifice fly for the insurance run.
Nelson allowed one run on six hits and one walk for the complete-game victory. She got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth. Mardela's leadoff hitter reached base in the seventh but was wiped out on a double play.
Haller scored Boonsboro's first run in the opening inning, singling to lead off the game before scoring on the back end of a double steal.
Taryn Turner hit an RBI single in the third for Mardela to tie the game, and finished with two hits.
1A West Region II final
Boonsboro 7, Williamsport 3
It was a good thing Boonsboro was graded on results instead of style points.
The Warriors tried to play a version of “small ball” against Williamsport during their region-title game. Aesthetically, they failed miserably.
But the methods helped in other ways as Boonsboro broke open a 2-2 game with four runs in the third inning to notch the victory and advance to the state quarterfinals.
“You could say we tried to play small ball, but it was unsuccessful,” Boonsboro coach Mark Wadel said. “I don’t think we got a bunt down in the whole game. But the goal today was to make contact, get on base and put the ball in play.”
Maybe that short game was a decoy, but it did produce results.
Boonsboro fought back from a 2-0 first-inning deficit to tie the game in the second before taking control in the third. The Warriors did it by clogging the bases with 16 base runners and supplying timely hits to make up for the failed bunts.
The signature failure-turned-success came off the bat of Ava Nelson, who fouled off two bunts before striking a hard-hit two-run single up the middle to give the Warriors breathing room with a 6-2 lead.
It was all the support Boonsboro starting pitcher Maddy Taylor needed after a shaky start. She allowed two runs in the first inning before retiring 12 of the next 14 hitters
Taylor left the game in the bottom of the sixth after injuring her right ankle when she was hit with a throw while trying to run out a grounder.
With the victory, Boonsboro will play in the state’s final eight Friday at Mardela at 4 p.m.
Williamsport, which defeated top-seeded Catoctin on Monday to get to the final, took a 2-0 lead in the first, using Natalie Melby’s single and a Juliette Bragunier double with one out. Brianna Koontz’s grounder and Chloe Lincks’ single provided the lead.
Boonsboro bounced back to tie the game in the second against starting pitcher McKenna Weaver.
Emmalee Burker drew a leadoff walk and Taylor singled to set up the Warriors. Burker scored on a wild pitch and courtesy runner Alivia Taylor scored on Tiffany Schaefer’s single to tie the game.
Boonsboro broke the game open in the third, scoring on Maddy Taylor’s fielder’s-choice grounder and a Schaefer grounder before Nelson blew the game open with her hit.
“I was thinking about the last game,” Nelson said. “I wanted to hit the ball like I did then. I just wanted to get a hit ball to help my team.”
Nelson, who had been mired in a slump, delivered a key hit in Boonsboro’s victory Monday over Clear Spring.
Each team added late runs.
Williamsport made it 6-3 in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Weaver. Boonsboro got the run back in the bottom of the inning on the errant throw on the play Maddy Taylor was injured on.
The Wildcats didn’t give up, though. They loaded the bases in the seventh and had the tying run at the plate against Nelson, who replaced Maddy Taylor. The threat was ended with a final strikeout.
Williamsport managed seven hits, led by Bragunier with three. Weaver pitched a complete game, allowing seven runs on six hits and five walks with six strikeouts.
Boonsboro had six hits, led by Schaefer with two and two RBIs. Hailee Hartman had two hits and Nelson drove in two runs. Maddy Taylor allowed two runs on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
1A West Region II semifinals
Boonsboro 14, Clear Spring 0
There's only one good day during slumps — the one when it ends.
Ava Nelson and Haylee Hartman are feeling pretty good now.
Nelson and Hartman ended their personal batting battles at the most opportune times with key hits in a 10-run fourth inning that sparked the Warriors (15-5) past rival Clear Spring (13-5) and into Wednesday's region final at home against Williamsport.
A number of things finally went right for Nelson and Hartman, up to and including a prevailing crosswind to right field that proved beneficial for the Warriors.
Nelson blew the game open with a two-run triple to right — her second of three hits — and Hartman added a two-run homer in the same general direction to cap the big inning and turn a tight game into a five-inning runaway.
“They both have had trouble at the plate lately,” said Boonsboro coach Mark Wadel. “Slumps happen in baseball and softball. It was good to see.”
Maddy Taylor fired a one-hitter while striking out 10. She has struck out 22 batters in 10 innings in the playoffs.
The Warriors looked like they had all the offense they needed with a 1-0 lead after two innings, as Taylor retired the first nine Blazers she faced.
Boonsboro made sure of the outcome in the fourth, sending 15 batters to the plate against Clear Spring starter Sarah Greenlee.
With two on and one out, Nelson stroked a shot that got caught in the jet stream and eluded Clear Spring right fielder Kay Vanderford for a 3-1 lead.
“I was just trying to hit the ball,” Nelson said. “I was just trying to make contact. I've been working on it. When I made contact, in my head, I said that it felt good.”
After RBI doubles by Zoe Hartman and Sage Haller, Haylee Hartman launched her two-run shot to right — Boonsboro's third of four hits to that field in the inning — to make it a 7-0 lead.
“I knew when I got it, it was going out,” Haylee Hartman said. “I guess the wind got it.”
Boonsboro led 11-0 after four, as courtesy runner Erin King stole home and Tiffany Schaefer, Nelson and Zoe Hartman drove in the rally-capping runs.
The Warriors added three runs against reliever Kay Buchanan in the fifth, highlighted by Mackenzie Griffith's sacrifice fly.
Greenlee had Clear Spring's only hit, a leadoff double in the fourth.
Nelson finished with four RBIs, while Schaefer and Zoe Hartman had two hits each.
Williamsport 7, Catoctin 2
In two regular-season games against the top-seed Cougars, the Wildcats were outscored 24-1.
Williamsport flipped the tables and stunned the Cougars behind a pair of home runs by Amber Kegarise and a strong pitching effort by McKenna Weaver. The Wildcats will travel to Boonsboro for the region final.
The Wildcats (10-9) opened the season 1-5 and were 3-8 after a loss to Middletown on April 25, but have gone 7-1 since.
"I think it happened the way things are supposed to," said Williamsport coach Jen Finafrock said "(Early in the season) we hit in one game but had errors, then the next game we played solid defense but couldn't get the bats going. We weren't putting it together, but it couldn't happen at a better time."
Baseball playoffs: Clear Spring blanks Boonsboro, gets Catoctin in region final
Lacrosse playoffs: Boonsboro girls, Smithsburg boys are region champs
Kegarise hit a solo homer in the third inning and a two-run shot in the sixth.
"She's always had a very calm, focused demeanor. Nothing really gets to her," Finafrock said. "She can have a bad at-bat or a mistake and it's gone right away. She puts it behind her and moves on."
Williamsport scored three runs in fifth, aided by two errors. Chloe Lincks hit a two-run double.
Weaver allowed two runs on six hits and struck out six for the victory. Catoctin scored both of its runs in the fifth, on a solo home run and two singles.
"She's gotten a lot stronger just as a pitcher from her freshman to her junior year," Finafrock said. "She might have a bad pitch or a bad at-bat against a hitter, and she can get rid of it and move on. It doesn't seem to bother her. She's out there to do her job."
3A West Region I semifinals
Linganore 4, South Hagerstown 0
The Rebels (9-10) were held to four hits as their season came to an end against the Lancers.
Madi Wade had a single and a walk and struck out five for South. Paige Whittington hit an infield single and stole two bases.
1A West Region II quarterfinals
Clear Spring 16, Smithsburg 0
Sarah Greenlee pitched a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and no walks, and Alyssa Fisher went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs as the No. 2-seeded Blazers (13-4) topped the No. 7 Leopards (0-17) in five innings.
“It felt good to get a win,” Clear Spring coach Chris Weaver said. “Playoff wins are fun.”
It was the Blazers’ first win in over two weeks.
They were 12-0 before ending the regular season with four straight losses — two against Williamsport and two against Boonsboro.
Their skid coincided with the absence of senior star Chloe Hess, who was still sidelined Thursday with a thumb injury.
This year, Hess is 10-0 in the circle with a 0.43 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 49 innings. She’s also batting a team-best .581.
“Without Chloe there, we were deflated a little bit,” Weaver said. “But we talked about it at practice and preached the ‘next player up.’
“You look for leadership, and today we got it out of Sarah. She came in, and she threw a great game, moving the ball well and hitting her spots.”
Clear Spring jumped on Smithsburg early, scoring seven runs in the first inning. The Blazers added three runs in the second inning and six in the fourth.
Dana Hammond had two hits and three RBIs, Jozie Watkins had two hits and an RBI, Serenity Anderson had a triple and two RBIs, Faith Moore hit an RBI double and Greenlee drove in two runs.
Clear Spring will host No. 3-seeded Boonsboro in the region semifinals Monday. The Warriors defeated the Blazers 10-0 on May 2 and 12-0 on May 9.
“I’d love to have Chloe back for Monday,” Weaver said. “But if we don’t, it’s next girl up.”
Boonsboro 17, Brunswick 0
Maddy Taylor pitched a five-inning no-hitter with one walk and 13 strikeouts, and the host and third-seeded Warriors (14-5) finished with 12 hits in advancing.
Tiffany Schaeffer went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and Emmalee Burker went 3-for-3 with a double and a triple, scoring three runs for Boonsboro. Sage Haller went 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs, and Breean Gay drove in two runs.
Williamsport 14, Hancock 1
The Wildcats (9-9) went on the road and rolled past the Panthers (8-8) to advance.
Williamsport will travel to Catoctin on Monday.
3A West Region I quarterfinals
South Hagerstown 12, Oakdale 8
Madi Wade did it all for the host Rebels (7-9) in a victory over the Bears.
Wade hit two home runs and drove in four runs at the plate, and struck out 11 over 6 1/3 innings of relief pitching, giving up no earned runs.
Wade now has 10 home runs on the season, tying the county record set by Williamsport's Kayla Ewing in 2011.
Paige Whittington had three hits, stole four bases and scored three runs for South. Aaliyah Creary had three hits, including a double, and drove in two. Leah Palmer hit a three-run homer and a double.
The Rebels will travel to Linganore on Monday.
Thomas Johnson 10, North Hagerstown 0
The Hubs (4-15) were held to no hits and three walks in a six-inning road loss to the Patriots.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Softball playoffs: Patterson Mill halts Boonsboro's run in state semis