MARCH 25, MONTGOMERY BLAIR STADIUM-
Watkins Mill is the best softball team in Montgomery County. When the Blazers played the Wolverines last year, they were no-hit and blown out. For the first two innings tonight, it looked like the same outcome was in the cards. But strong pitching and hitting by freshman phenom Michelle Linford and solid defense on the part of the Blazers brought them back into the game. It wasn't enough; the Wolverines won, 7-4. But there were no sad faces on the Blair bench at the end.
"I'm really proud of the way we battled throughout the whole game," said Coach Louis Hoelman. "We got down five runs in the first two innings and we came back and beat them 4-2 in the last five."
With only three players on the team returning with significant varsity playing time, the team's inexperience showed early on. Senior second baseman Anna Schoenfelder, who saw very limited time last year, had three errors in the first and second, which led to three of Watkins Mill's five early runs. But she and her teammates pulled it together and played excellent D for the rest of the game.
Linford was outstanding, striking out five Wolverines against two walks. She let up four earned runs, but against the strongest lineup in the county. And when the Blazers found themselves down 6-1 in the bottom of the sixth, it was her three-RBI triple that brought the Blazers back in the game. Freshman Anna Szapiro and senior co-captain Amy Ernst scored from second and third, and Linford came home on an error by the center fielder. It was Linford's third round-the-basepaths hit of the young season. Against Einstein she had a home run and a single with three-base error.
"I thought Michelle showed incredible composure for someone so young," said Hoelman. "When the D let her down early she stayed in it and she got a huge hit."
Added Ernst, "Michelle just makes my day every time. She's amazing."
Watkins Mills' final two scores were on a line drive to left in the fifth and a ground ball to Ernst that she threw to first for the force out. The Wolverine runner on third had a great jump on the play and might have forced an error at the plate had Ernst thrown home. Watkins Mill was able to place runners on base in five of seven innings, while the Blazers struggled early to produce offensively. Linford's one-out rally in the sixth was cut short by a pair of fly balls to the right side.
Blair next plays at Walter Johnson, March 29 at 3:30.
Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »