For five innings of Wednesday’s 4A East Region II softball championship game, it seemed like Broadneck could do no wrong. Suddenly, everything inexplicably started going wrong.
First it was a dropped throw. Then several ground balls were hit right through waiting fielders. Lastly, a dropped fly ball that could have ended the game. Five unearned runs later, Broadneck’s comfortable lead over Leonardtown was gone.
Despite their youth, despite their nerves, and despite the mounting pressure, the Bruins remained unfazed — and they delivered their best softball when it mattered most.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Hailey Adamson pushed a bunt through the drawn-in Leonardtown infield, scoring Diana Owens from third base and sending the Bruins to the state quarterfinals with a wild 8-7 win.
“I was just trying to get to first and hopefully Diana was right behind me,” said Adamson, who drove in two runs and pitched four innings as the starting pitcher. “The stress was definitely there, but I’m glad it all worked out in the end. A lot of us have been waiting three, four years for this moment, and we finally came alive.”
The roller-coaster matchup featured the good, the bad, and the bizarre, as the teams mixed in timely hits and sterling defense with 11 errors and 10 unearned runs. Broadneck plated five runs, four unearned, in the fourth and fifth innings to stake itself to a 7-2 lead.
An uncharacteristic spate of fielding misplays in the fifth and sixth innings gave Leonardtown an opening back into game, however. The Raiders tied things up on a dropped fly ball with two outs in the seventh inning and immediately threatened to take the lead.
“Maybe it was a little too comfortable and we let our guard down,” Broadneck coach Beth Mackell said. “But the girls dug deep. It really was (uncharacteristic) because we have some of the best fielders in the county. But they trust each other, hold themselves accountable for their mistakes, and then they move on.”
Moving on paved the way for late-inning dramatics, as clutch pitching and defense in the seventh and eighth innings set the stage for a dramatic finish. With the game tied and two runners on in each inning, pitcher Sam Waters and the Broadneck defense turned Leonardtown away.
That set the stage for the speedy Owens, a freshman JV callup sent on to pinch run for senior Addison Hurst, and the Bruins offense, needing to manufacture just one run. Two batters later, Owens raced home and was swallowed by a maelstrom of happy maroon-clad teammates.
“I was so nervous … it’s my first time playing for varsity,” Owens said. “No matter what, I knew I had to get home. As soon as I saw the girl bobble the ball, I was off. This is so big to win for the seniors. They deserve this win.”
Abby Favazza hit a two-run double for the Bruins, while Hurst had two hits and drove in a run. Bella Herrera scored two runs for Broadneck, which will play this weekend in the state quarterfinals.
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