Northern softball wins state-record fifth-straight crown By MICHAEL REID
COLLEGE PARK -- You can’t make errors against a team like Northern.
Linganore did exactly that and the Patriots cruised to a 10-0 win over the Lancers in the Class 3A state championship softball game on Saturday at University of Maryland’s Robert E. Taylor Stadium.
The win capped a perfect 25-0 season for the Patriots, who wrapped up a state-record fifth-straight championship. Chesapeake and Northeast, both of Anne Arundel County, had won four apiece in the early 1990s.
“I’m, I’m beyond excited,” said Northern junior catcher Kristina Lozupone, who squeezed a foul pop-up for the final out. “This is exactly what we’ve been working for the entire season.”
The Patriots, the 3A South Region champions, graduated eight players from last year’s team, which brought out plenty of naysayers as Northern embarked on its quest for its fifth-straight title.
“We did something nobody thought we could do after losing all our seniors,” Northern sophomore pitcher Jess Cummings said, “so it’s a nice feeling to prove everybody wrong.”
The Lancers of Frederick County (20-4) put themselves behind the 8-ball right off the bat as the first two Northern hitters reached in the top of the first off miscues and scored one run. Linganore committed five errors in the game.
The Patriots all but wrapped up the crown with a six-run fourth inning highlighted by Lindsey Schmeiser’s two-run single.
“We had some chances early but when ‘Lulu’ came up in the fourth, that was going to be the death blow,” Northern head coach Robert Earl Radford said. “You knew she was just going to do what she does, which was hit the ball hard. After that, we were rolling.”
Carleigh Ruleman later added a two-run single and Lozupone drove in a run with a double. Kierstie Schaefer plated another run on a sacrifice fly.
Cummings allowed five hits, all singles, and struck out 15 Lancers.
“I really threw a lot of my rise and then when they figured that out I went to my change and just kept mixing it up to keep them off balance,” she said. “I was just trying to throw pitches they couldn’t hit and that turned into strikeouts.”
Linganore, the 3A West champions, was making its first state finals appearance.
The softball championship is Northern’s ninth.
“It definitely holds a special place in my heart because I get to finish on my home turf,” said Schmeiser, who will play softball at the University of Maryland next year. “All the weight is off my shoulders now; I can actually enjoy my summer. We said we were going to prove everyone wrong and [winning today] feels so sweet. It’s icing on top of the cake.”
Northern 10, Linganore 0
Northern 110 610 1 — 10 11 0
Linganore 000 000 0 — 0 5 5
WP Cummings, LP Brown
Extra-base hit: 2B Lozupone (N)