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Photo by Mike SlatteryRyken right fielder Ashley Bond is caught at the plate by Great Mills pitcher Lauren Ivancik on Saturday.
The Knights won the Leonardtown High School Softball Tournament championship early Saturday evening with an 11-1 five-inning, run-rule victory over Great Mills in the title game.
It was the first time since 2002 that St. Mary’s Ryken has captured the tournament.
‘‘It’s really good that we won because we’ve been waiting four years to play this. We beat all the teams,” said Knights junior pitcher Amanda Hanson.
St. Mary’s Ryken never looked back after the first inning on a day that went from bright sunshine to pouring rain and thunder. The Knights sent 10 hitters to the plate in the frame and scored seven runs.
‘‘I think we did very well,” senior catcher Devon Czarzasty said. ‘‘We definitely hit despite the bad weather. I’m glad we finally won because we haven’t won this in the past four years.”
St. Mary’s Ryken (9-2, 5-2 WCAC) outscored its two opponents in the tournament — Chopticon and Great Mills — 27-1.
‘‘This was our first goal of our season out of four,” Knights coach Mike Kriner said. ‘‘And the other [three are] we’ve never beaten Ireton and we’ve never beaten O’Connell and we want to be the first team at Ryken to put a banner up in the school.”
Hanson allowed a run on four hits and struck out 21 hitters, 10 in the title game, in the two games.
‘‘I clear out everything that’s around me and I just watch Devon’s fingers,” she said. ‘‘And whatever she calls, I pitch it.”
Great Mills (1-9, 0-8 SMAC) was coming off its first victory of the season, a 4-2 eight-inning win over Leonardtown earlier in the day. The Hornets did not get a hit off Hanson until there were two outs in the fourth inning and had two for the game.
‘‘Amanda’s tough. She pitched a great game, no excuses,” Great Mills coach O’Jay Lewis said. ‘‘We got outplayed, got outhit and got outpitched.”
The consolation contest — won by Leonardtown — was called after 5 1⁄2 innings because of rain and lightning and the championship game was delayed for just more than an hour.
Rain began to fall again in the third and it came down very hard at times. The game continued and the run-rule made it official in the fifth as the rain slowed down.
‘‘We always hold our heads up when it’s raining,” Hanson said. ‘‘It doesn’t matter, conditions and all, we always play good.”
Paula Cooper came in from third to relieve pitcher Lauren Ivancik and gave up an infield single to right fielder Ashley Bond to start the St. Mary’s Ryken fifth.
Center fielder Erin Leddy’s sacrifice bunt allowed Bond to go to second and she reached third safely as well. Bond served as the run that would bring the run-rule into effect, so second baseman Kim DelaPaz and first baseman Tricia Johnson were both walked to load the bases.
Shortstop Brenda McEvoy popped out to Great Mills first baseman Stefanie Cocchimiglio for the second out of the inning and Hanson came up with the bases loaded. A three-balls, one-strike pitch from Cooper missed, allowing Bond to score to end the game.
‘‘I feel good for our seniors because they’ve never won this thing and that what makes me the happiest right now and that’s what we wanted,” Kriner said.
A seven-run first inning, aided by three Hornets errors, put St. Mary’s Ryken ahead to stay.
‘‘When we played them before [on March 21], we did the same thing, almost like the last game,” Kriner said. ‘‘And that’s what we’re supposed to do; that’s what I expect out of those top five and six.”
The Knights loaded the bases with one out, then Hanson doubled just inside the third base line. The hit cleared the bases to put the team on the board.
Hanson, Czarzasty and Bond each had two hits to lead St. Mary’s Ryken.
‘‘I thought it was foul at first,” Hanson said of the first-inning double. ‘‘But I just kept running and it brought three runs, so I guess it was a good hit.”
Designated hitter Raven Manigault reached on an error and left fielder Ashley Fowler was hit by a pitch, loading the bases again.
Czarzasty blooped a single to short left to score Hanson. Then Bond cleared the bases with a line drive to the left-center field gap. An error allowed Bond to go to third and she tried to score as the errant throw went to the backstop, but Bond was tagged out by Ivancik at the plate. St. Mary’s Ryken led 7-0 after an inning.
‘‘Our first innings always seem to be our toughest,” Lewis said. ‘‘Once we get past those, we do really well.”
Hanson struck out the side in the first two innings. Cooper walked to start the Great Mills third. She was the Hornets’ first base runner of the game, but was picked off as Czarzasty threw to DelaPaz, who was covering first.
Czarzasty led off the Knights’ third with a single to left and was replaced by courtesy runner Katie Love. Love stole second and came around to score on Leddy’s base hit to right.
Leddy went to second as Great Mills attempted to throw out Love at the plate but was unsuccessful, stole third and scored on a DelaPaz sacrifice bunt to put St. Mary’s Ryken up 9-0.
The Hornets broke up the shutout in the fourth with the rain coming down hard.
Schulman doubled to the right-center field fence, advanced to third on an error and reached the plate to make it 9-1.
St. Mary’s Ryken scored single runs in the fourth and fifth.
Great Mills 4, Leonardtown 2 (8 inn.)
The Hornets won for the first time this season with the victory over the Raiders to start the tournament.
Leonardtown had leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but Great Mills came back in the next half-inning to tie the game on two occasions.
Great Mills tied the game with a run in the top of the seventh, then scored twice in the eighth to take the lead and hang on for the victory.
‘‘We played them tight, played great defense, had some timely hits,” Lewis said. ‘‘And then we got into the international tiebreaker and scored two runs and played great defense to hold them.”
Eli Gaston led Leonardtown with two hits and three stolen bases, while Sam Lawrence had a single and three stolen bases.
‘‘We didn’t hit the ball,” Raiders coach Glenn Larnerd Jr. said. ‘‘We haven’t hit the ball, truthfully, all year. We hit the ball in our first play date scrimmage, hit the ball hard. We haven’t hit the ball real hard since then.”
Graham was 2 for 3 with a double for Great Mills, while Cocchimiglio was 2 for 3 with two singles.
Ryken 16, Chopticon 0
Hanson threw a two-hit shutout in the win over the Braves in the second game of the tournament.
St. Mary’s Ryken scored at least one run in five of the seven innings. The Knights had an eight-run seventh to cap the game.
‘‘We’re a little disappointed because we really wanted to play their best team,” Kriner said. ‘‘And obviously they weren’t here. It was a little disappointing because we were all excited about that. I feel bad for some of their kids because that was their JV, I think. So we did what we had to do; that’s who we had to play and we did what we had to do.”
Czarzasty had two singles and three RBIs, while Johnson had two doubles and two RBIs. Hanson struck out 11 in the shutout victory.
‘‘Ryken’s got a good team; there’s no doubt about that,” said Jamie Tennyson, who filled in for Chopticon head coach Traci Chappelear. ‘‘We were overmatched and we did the best we could. If we hadn’t made those two errors and stuff, it would have been a real close game, but they kind of got out of it once they got 10 runs on us. That eight runs, we shouldn’t even have been that far; it should have been like 2-0.”
E-mail Paul Watson at email@example.com.