Article by Jon Roetman; photos by Sebastian Montes
Base-running blunders. Errant throws. A dropped line drive.
In its first game back from spring break, the Watkins Mill softball team played like a group stepping onto the field after a 13-day layoff. Despite multiple miscues, the Wolverines overcame a five-run deficit against Quince Orchard on Wednesday and took an 8-6 lead into the seventh and final inning. However, the Cougars pushed three across in the final frame to secure a 9-8 victory on a cold, windy afternoon at Watkins Mill High School.
After failing to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities, Watkins Mill tallied three runs in the fifth and five in the sixth to take their short-lived lead. While mistakes ultimately cost the Wolverines a win, head coach Jody Tyler said facing Quince Orchard was a good way to shake off the spring break rust.
“We made mistakes, they made mistakes,” Tyler said. “They just made a couple less mistakes and we made them at inopportune times, I suppose. … We hit the ball hard today, we put the ball in play and forced them to make plays and sometimes it worked out for us, sometimes it didn’t. They’re a 4A school; we’re not going to see them in the playoffs. It’s a good game to come back from spring break on.”
Senior pitcher Maria Sanchez took the loss for Watkins Mill. The left-hander struck out four in the first two innings while keeping QO off the scoreboard, but the Cougars broke through for four runs in the third.
“For not pitching for a week and a half, she did all right,” Tyler said. “She’s throwing too many pitches. She’s getting herself tired and getting herself frustrated. The thing that she really has needed to focus on all four years that she’s been here is you can’t let the umpire throw you out of the game. You can’t let the umpire dictate what you’re going to throw. Throw your game and if he’s going to walk 12 batters, that’s on him. You’ve got to do what it is that you need to do and whatever happens, happens.”
Sanchez finished 3-for-3 with a double at the plate. Senior shortstop Dani DeLeon went 3-for-4 with a double.
While Watkins Mill dropped to 2-3, Quince Orchard improved to 6-1 by overcoming the loss of a late lead. Rather than sulking, the Cougars scored three runs in the seventh inning.
“I’m very proud of the way they didn’t let it get to them,” head coach Colleen Kelly said. “They came out and they gave everything they had and it fell in our favor. … It says a lot [about our team]. These girls have worked really hard since March 1 as a team and really hard individually throughout the year. … They know what they need to do and they come prepared, ready to work every day.”
Junior pitcher Brooke Beisner earned the win for the Cougars.
“She did a very good job,” Beisner said. “She had some tough spots here and there but she was hitting pitches that we want her to hit.”
Quince Orchard will host Whitman at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Watkins Mill will travel to face Wheaton at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.