Cumberland Times-News

Mike Mathews - Sports

May 25, 2008

Everything fell neatly in order for Sentinels

COLLEGE PARK

They played well as underdogs yesterday. We’ll see how well they’ll play as favorites next year.

The Fort Hill Sentinels, with an all-sophomore infield and not a senior to be found, won the Maryland Class 1A softball state championship Saturday afternoon.

They did it by out-hitting, out-pitching and out-playing Col. Richardson, which lost in the title game for the third straight year. Even when the Sentinels made a mistake they came out smelling like a rose.

Head coach Mike Bittner admitted that in recounting a wild second inning on a sunny, breezy afternoon.

The inning featured an umpire’s warning to Col. Richardson pitcher Renee Statton for an illegal delivery and a lineup error that led to the Sentinels batting out of order, feuling a brief fear that a run would be disallowed and a potential big inning doused.

Didn’t matter, though, because this was Fort Hill’s day. The Sentinels’ half of the second inning included: 38 pitches, five runs, four hits, a walk, two wild pitches, a passed ball, a stolen base and three straight two-out, RBI hits.

Everything went so well that even when leadoff hitter Cierra Miller struck out she reached first, on a third-strike wild pitch.

Miller moved to third on another wild pitch and a passed ball, Olivia Stanley walked, and Brittany Hines smacked an RBI single to center and took second on the throw home.

But with Lindsey Fisher batting with one out and a 2-2 count, Col. Richardson’s coaches realized the Sentinels had batted out of order. Fisher was listed as the No. 8 hitter and Hines No. 9.

A lengthy delay and discussion among coaches, umpires, tournament committee members and the rules interpreter followed.

The ruling soothed Fort Hill’s fears. The run counted, but Fisher was replaced at the plate by the next batter, leadoff hitter Kathryn Huber, who assumed the 2-2 count.

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Mike Mathews - Sports
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