The Northwest Lady Jags defeated the Sherwood Warriors 8-4 to win the Maryland State 4A Championship, the first in school history.
That is the absolute baseline minimum news that came out of yesterday’s game at College Park. Some other lede paragraphs that could have started this article include:
Northwest is the first team to defeat Sherwood twice in one season to claim the state title.
Northwest ends Sherwood’s five-year reign as softball champions with an 8-4 victory.
Freshman pitcher leads Lady Jags to state championship to defeat a dynasty.
Northwest are the kings and queens of the diamond as both baseball and softball teams win Maryland State Championships within 24 hours.
Brother and sister combine to pitch their high school to two state championship titles.
Germantown high school wins three state championships in 24 hours, as the Northwest boys’ outdoor track and field team won the 4A State Championship on Saturday also.
All of those things happened in the span of 48 hours. Northwest’s freshman pitcher Amber Yuille pitched a complete game in Saturday’s title matchup to defeat softball powerhouse Sherwood. Northwest defeated Sherwood for the second time this season. Sherwood has been the reigning champs in Maryland softball since 2012. Earlier this season, Northwest, behind the pitching of Yuille, broke Sherwood’s 105 game winning streak. The night before her older brother, senior Michael Yuille, pitched six innings as the Northwest baseball team defeated Howard to win the state title.
There is so much story here it makes a reporter’s head spin.
“To beat [Sherwood] once is very difficult,” said Northwest Head Coach Mike Horton. “To beat them twice is damned near impossible. I don’t ever remember the same team beating Sherwood twice in the course of the same season. That is huge.” Northwest defeated Sherwood back on March 25, by a score of 9-5 to end the winning streak, handing the Lady Warriors their first defeat since 2011. It was the first time in school history that Northwest had defeated Sherwood on the softball field.
Yuille allowed seven hits, one walk, struck out four batters, allowed seven hits to get the victory. Yuille and the players behind her held Sherwood, a team which averaged 11 runs per game during the regular season to just four runs.
Sherwood started the game by putting two runs on the board in the first inning. After getting the first batter to ground out, Yuille gave up a bunt by freshman Hannah St. Laurent. That was followed by a triple to right field by senior Faith Hanrahan, for the first run of the game. Yuille had thrown just thirteen pitches and was trailing the five-time defending champs by one run.
After a meeting at the mound to calm nerves, the freshman walked the next batter, freshman Christi Mathis, on four pitches. Yuille got freshman Kayley Bina to fly out to left fielder junior Kaylan King. However, Sherwood scored again, as senior Brittany Mathis drove in her sister to give the Lady Warriors a two-run lead. Sherwood took the field for the bottom of the first looking like defending champs on their way to a sixth title.
However, in the bottom of the inning Northwest made a statement which told the crowd at the University of Maryland, “Not this year” as the first two Jags batters reached base. The Lady Jags had cut the lead in half in just ten pitches, junior Chloe Hickman led off with a bunt single, junior Karlie Stanford reached on an error, and senior catcher Alexa Bowen ripped a single down the third-base line to score Hickman. Senior Alexis Mack hit a sacrifice to score Stanford. The next batter, freshman Kaylah Qassis hit a single to bring Bowen home to score, and sophomore Alex Karamihas ripped a double to centerfield, scoring Qassis. Two batters later, freshman Megan Ridenour smashed a single down the first base line into right field to score Karamihas.
The Lady Jags had five runs on five hits in the first inning to take a 5-2 lead. Mighty Sherwood no longer looked like defending champs; Northwest had shaken the Lady Warriors.
Sherwood would start the second inning with senior Amber Glasser working a four-pitch walk. Glasser would steal second. The Jags would get the first out as freshman Madison Wessling hit a sacrifice bunt to move Glasser to third base.
With Glasser at third, Sherwood’s top of the order came to the plate. Senior Amanda Berkley would take the first pitch and hit it deep to center field. The ball would be caught by Alexis Mack, who would come up throwing as Glasser tagged up from third. Mack would rifle the ball to catcher Alexa Bowen, who tagged Glasser out at home for the 8-2 inning ending double-play.
“I didn’t think she was going to tag because no one ever tags up on me. When I saw her running, I knew I was going to throw her out. That is why I have an offer to go play in college,” said Mack, who will play at Division 1 St. Peter’s University next season.
“I thought oh, this is going to be tight,” said Horton, “because Alexis has a cannon, I see it every day. She could not have played that ball any better.” The play ended the scoring threat, the inning, and the Sherwood dominance. It changed the game, and signified a shift in the power status.
Northwest would add to their lead in the bottom of the inning. It was Mack again, hitting a ball deep to right-center field with two outs. Stanford, who had reached on single, sprinted home to beat the throw to the plate as Mack was rounding second. Mack started her slide into third, as third baseman Amber Glasser caught the throw from catcher Brittany Mathis. Glasser got the tag on Mack a split second before Mack grabbed the base. Mack was out, but the Jags extended their lead to 6-2 after two innings.
Yuille would set the Warriors down in order in the third inning, and allow one hit in the fourth. The Jags would also go down in order, in the third and fourth innings, as Sherwood’s pitcher senior Amanda Berkley would strike out three of six batters. She would finish the game with four strikeouts, no walks, but allowed eight runs on ten hits.
The fifth inning would prove uneventful for Sherwood, as Yuille and the Jags defense held the Warriors scoreless. Northwest would add two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Stanford knocked a double. The sophomore shortstop reached on all three at-bats, once on an error, and hit a single and double, and scored three times. Stanford’s third trip home came on a single by Qassis, who went two-for-three and scored twice. The freshman first-basewomen scored from first on a double by Karamihas.
At the end of five innings, the Lady Jags led Sherwood 8-2. Sherwood would score one run in the sixth inning as Christi Mathis led off with a double. She would score on a sac fly by her sister Brittany. The Jags would go down in order on three ground balls in the bottom of the sixth.
The top of the seventh began with Yuille in the circle. She got the first batter to ground out to second. The next Sherwood hitter reached base on an error as Hickman and Qassis fumbled a handoff after a dribbler to second base. Yuille would get the second out on a pop-up. The game would end with Kaylan King catching Christi Mathis’ drive to left field.
Top: The Lady Jags mob freshman pitcher Amber Yuille as they win the 4A Maryland State Championship at the University of Maryland on Saturday, May 28.
Next: Freshman Amber Yuille (14) struck out four batters, and walked just one in the complete game victory.
Video: Senior Alexa Bowen (15) rips and single down the third base line to get the Jags’ first RBI and put Northwest on the scoreboard.
Next: Catcher Alexa Bowen (15) puts the tag on Sherwood’s Amber Glasser (17) at home to complete the double play after the catch and throw from center fielder Alexis Mack to end the second inning.
Video: Sherwood third basewomen Amber Glasser (17) puts the tag on Alexis Mack (00), but not after Mack’s hit scored Karlie Stanford to extend the lead.
Next: Freshman Kaylah Qassis runs for third, she would score the last Jaguar run and make the final 8-4.
Next: Jubilant Jags juniors Karlie Stanford hugs Kaylan King after King caught the final out to secure the championship for Northwest.
Next: The Lady Jags with the State Championship trophy.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse.
All of the photos in this post, as well as hundreds of others from this game, are available to view and purchase right now at the Germantown Pulse Sports Photo Shop.