SANDY SPRING – After leading by five runs in the first two innings on May 17, the Sherwood High School softball team were in prime position to return to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state semifinals.
However, five unanswered runs by Ellicott City-based Howard almost put the Lady Warriors on the brink of elimination. The Montgomery County ballclub handled the mid-game pressure by scoring three more times to defeat the Lions and become in the 4A north regional champions.
Sherwood (17-1) jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning after shortstop Nicole Ladino fired a double to center field to bring in the game’s first run. One batter later, Christi Mathis connected with a double of her own to left field, giving Sherwood a two-run advantage. Pitcher Samantha Combs capped the scoring streak during her at-bat with an RBI double as well.
A sacrifice fly and an error helped the Lady Warriors add two more runs to their lead in the second inning. After being scoreless for three innings, Becky Merson and Lindsay Smith drove in three runs off of two hits in the fourth, dropping Howard’s deficit down to two points.
Senior Sophie Morton tied the game for the Lions (18-6) with a two-run home run, her second of the season, in the top of the fifth inning. Sherwood responded in the bottom half of the same inning with Combs firing an RBI single to center field to score a run and recapture the lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Sherwood broke away with an RBI triple by Ally Bloom and a sacrifice fly out from Kayley Bina to add two more runs to their advantage. Combs silenced Howard batters in the game’s final innings, ending the contest with three strikeouts.
With the win, Sherwood has a chance to earn the right to go back to the state finals and claim their fifth softball championship in seven years.
They will need to defeat a Bowie squad from Prince George’s County that has yet to lose a game all season on May 21. The game will take place in the Bachman Sporting Complex in Glen Burnie. Start time is scheduled for 7 p.m.