In a game that may say more about the future of the Northwest softball team than it does for the present, the Lady Jaguars were defeated by a very good Sherwood team 4-0 on Saturday, May 23 in the final game of the Division 4A State Championship at the University of Maryland Softball Complex in College Park.
Sherwood came into the game with a perfect 20-0 record, this season. The Jags, on the other hand brought their 18-2 record and a team that did not boast a single senior. The Jags team consists of five juniors, four sophomores, and nine freshman – three of which are starters.
Sherwood is unbeaten in 84 games over four seasons. The Warriors have now won four-straight Division 4A Maryland State Championships, to call the Warriors softball program a powerhouse is an understatement. Sherwood has not lost a game since 2011.
This season Sherwood has been averaging 14 runs per game, however, the young Northwest team, led by junior pitcher Bridgette Barbour, held the big hitting Warriors to just four runs. Barbour, who set the Jaguars single-season strike-out record with 162, would go the distance striking out four batters in the final.
Sherwood got on the board in the second inning as McKenzie Bina hit a shot to center field which Northwest’s Joyce Zhou lost it in the setting sun, earning Bina get a double. Sherwood’s Kelly Bouma bombed another shot to center Zhou was able to catch this one getting the out and hold the Bina at second base.
Sherwood’s next batter Britney Mathis dropped a sacrifice bunt to move the Bina to third. Bina would score from third on a pitch that got away from Northwest’s junior catcher Sidney Salgado. Northwest would get out of the inning on a slow roller to third base by Sherwood’s Marissa Mancini, play made by Selin Bolayir. Sherwood lead 1-0 after two innings.
The score would stay 1-0 until the Warriors broke out to score three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sherwood’s junior Marisa Mancini got things going for the Warriors by slapping a double that went all the way to the left field fence. After Hanna Nalls struck-out, senior Julie Swarr would score Mancini, with a double to left-center.
Sherwood’s Amanda Berkley would hit a gapper to left-center, which would allow Swarr to attempt to score from second, but she would be thrown out. Two freshman, centerfielder Danielle Coates and second baseman Chloe Hickman combined to get the ball to Northwest’s catcher Sidney Salgado to apply to the tag to Swarr at home. Berkley would take third on the throw home.
Sherwood’s Nicole Stockinger would walk to give the Warriors players on first and second with two outs. Berkley scored on an errant throw to second to in an attempt to get a stealing Stockinger. Stockinger, a Towson University commit, would score on a double to center by junior Kara Carney. The Jags would get out of the inning after Barbour struck out Bina. However, the damage was done and Sherwood got three big runs and lead Northwest 4-0 at the end of five.
It was Sherwood’s junior pitcher Jamie Schmier, who would prove the biggest obstacle to the Jags. Schmier had a perfect game going until sophomore Emily Wiley knocked a single into right field in the top of the sixth. Schmier would allow only one more hit and one walk in the victory. Sherwood’s senior middle-infield of short stop Nicole Stockinger and second baseman Julie Swarr would combine to stop the Jags from advancing beyond first base in inning.
The Lady Jags would threaten in the top of the seventh after Barbour smacked a hard grounder to Stockinger at short stop, however Barbour beat the throw. Freshman Karlie Stanford would knock a base-hit and give the Jags life, with runners at first and second and one out. But Salgado would chop a grounder to third base, which Sherwood’s McKenzie Bina scooped and stepped on third for second out.
The Jags season would end after Taylor Lawhorn hit a line drive to the outfield which was caught by leftfielder Marisa Mancini to end the game and seal the Warriors fourth straight state championship.
Top: Northwest catcher Sidney Salgado applies to the tag to Sherwood’s Julie Swarr (8) to get the out at home in the fifth inning.
Next: Jaguars first baseman Katherine McCutcheon makes the catch on pop foul while colliding with catcher Sidney Salgado to end the second inning.
Next: Jags pitcher Bridgette Barbour had four strikeouts in the championship game.
Next: Northwest sophomore Emily Wiley (5) cracks a hit in the top of the sixth inning ending a perfect game bid by Sherwood.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.