Both teams were riding winning streaks coming into Monday’s second-round playoff at Northwest’s softball field. The Lady Jags had won 11 straight and hadn’t lost since April 5. The Lady Patriots of Wootton were riding a four-game win streak dating back to April 30.
The Lady Jags were the top seed in the 4A West Section II bracket, earning the first-round bye based on their 14-1 regular season record. Their only loss coming to four-time defending state champions, Sherwood. Prior to Monday’s game, the Lady Jags had not allowed a run in the month of May.
Wootton’s 11-3 regular season record earned them the fourth seed in the bracket. The Lady Patriots defeated Gaithersburg 6-5 to advance to a second-round matchup with the Lady Jaguars.
The Lady Patriots jumped out to a one-run lead in the early innings, but the Jags were able to put three runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, thanks in part to senior Sydney Salgado’s two-run double to deep center field. The double scored junior Alexis Mack and sophomore Karlie Sanford. The Lady Jags were able to tack on another in the fifth inning.
Solid pitching from junior Elle Smethurst and good defense held Wootton to just one run through six innings, however in the top of the seventh, the Patriots managed to get three runs to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Jags would go quietly, and the game would remain tied 4-4 forcing an extra inning.
In Maryland high school softball, extra innings begin with each team starting with a runner at second base. For the top of the eighth, Northwest head coach decided to change pitchers and sent senior Bridgette Barbour to the rubber.
A sacrifice groundball base hit from Wootton would move the runner on second to third base. The next batter would fly out to the infield, and the Lady Jags would just miss getting the runner at third base out trying to tag up.
The runner at third would score on a pitch from Barbour that would just skip off the top of the senior catcher Sydney Salgado to the backstop. Barbour would charge home, but the runner would slide into the plate safe to give Wootton a 5-4 lead. Barbour would get out of the inning with a strike out.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Jags would put senior Selin Bolayir on second base to begin the inning. Barbour would lead off the inning with a deep shot to left which would be caught by the outfielder, who would rifle a throw to second base to get Bolayir out sliding back into the base for a quick double-play, and the Lady Jags would be down to their last out. The next batter, junior outfielder Emily Wiley would smack a hard groundball to the shortstop who would throw to first for the out and the upset victory for Wootton.
The Patriots will travel to Clarksburg and play the third-seeded Coyotes at 4:00 pm on Wednesday. The Lady Coyotes blanked the second-seeded Quince Orchard Cougars 6-0 at QO on Monday and have not allowed a run in the post-season. On Thursday, Clarksburg eliminated Einstein with an 18-0 victory. Clarksburg has won eight of their last nine games, dating back to April 18. The only loss was a 7-3 loss at Sherwood. Clarksburg and Wootton were scheduled to play earlier this season, but that game was canceled due to rain and never rescheduled.
Top: Senior catcher Sydney Salgado’s (3) double to deep center field drove in two runs to give Northwest the lead.
Next: Northwest junior Elle Smthurst (28) pitched seven innings.
Next: Senior Selin Bolayir (14) was a slip-second late getting back to the base in the bottom of the eighth inning, Wootton would turn a double-play thanks to a perfect throw from left field.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.