CHESAPEAKE CITY — Bohemia Manor managed to put just three runners on base over the first four innings against Cambridge-South Dorchester pitcher Maddie Pleasants in the 1A East Region Championship game Friday afternoon.
The Eagles made adjustments and finally solved Pleasants during their third time through the lineup, scoring three runs in the fifth and one more in sixth to defeat the visiting Vikings 4-1 in softball action and return to the state tournament for a third-straight year.
“During the season, we struggled with making adjustments throughout each at-bat, but progressively, we have gotten better making adjustments and knowing what the other pitcher has and laying off balls and swing at strikes,” Bo Manor pitcher Maddie Penta said.
The Eagles entered the bottom of the fifth inning locked in a scoreless tie thanks to dueling shutouts by Penta and Pleasants, but Aubrey Heath led of the frame with a single.
After back-to-back wild pitches moved Heath to third, Lexi Bailey reached via a fielder’s choice and moved to second because no one was covering the base to put runners on second and third with no outs.
Morgan Mullin stepped up to the plate two batters later with a mindset of going the opposite way and laced a single to right, plating Heath and Bailey to give Bo Manor a 2-0 lead.
“I just knew that I had to get the run in for my team. My coach told me to hit the ball to the right side, and that’s what I went up there to do,” Mullin said.
Reagan Goldsmith moved Mullins to second with a single, and both moved up a base on an error on the play. Penta then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right to make it 3-0.
The Vikings cut the Eagle's lead to two runs in the top of the sixth inning when Pleasants drove in Ariah Matos with a sacrifice fly, but Bo Manor got that run back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Emily Heath scored on an Anna Wilson sacrifice fly.
“It’s been like that all year. We kind of hit a little lull in the middle of the season. I believe that hitting is contagious, and by putting people on, it puts pressure on the defense. The infield is moving around,” Eagles head coach Ed Abshagen said his team’s late-inning rallies. “We’re seeing better pitches because of the nervousness of the pitcher. You have to take advantage of mistakes.”
Penta only allowed one Cambridge-South Dorchester player to reach in the seventh to secure the victory and help produce Bo Manor’s third consecutive regional championship.
Penta turned in a strong effort against the Vikings as she gave up one run on two hits with two walks and 15 strikeouts.
She allowed a hit in the second inning, ending a streak of 20 no-hit postseason innings.
“I felt very good and in charge. I was just on a roll today, Penta said. “I had plenty of support behind me in the field. I was very impressed with my team all-around today.”
The Eagles will travel to Glen Burnie for their 1A semifinal showdown with West Region champion Brunswick 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.