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Huntingtown softball 4-0 after putting away North Point late

By MICHAEL REID Staff writer

With the pollen counts in the area at record highs, allergies have been prevalent in many people.

The Huntingtown softball team maybe had watery eyes after being locked in a struggle with North Point for a few innings, but it sneezed out some runs late and cruised to a 9-2 nonconference win over the visiting Eagles on Friday.

After North Point tied the game at 1 in the top of the fourth, the Hurricanes (4-0 overall) answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame and added five more runs over the fifth and sixth innings to pull away.

The Eagles (2-3) scored in the top of the seventh to close out the scoring.

“It’s not consistent,” Huntingtown head coach Mike Johnson said of his team’s offensive abilities. “We’re getting the hits, but we’re not getting that [clutch] hit to really keep an inning going. We can score the one or two [runs], but we need the real big innings.”

Huntingtown banged out 12 hits, including four in as many at-bats by Kass Taylor.

Nine of 10 Hurricanes had at least one hit and seven of 10 scored at least one run. All 10 Huntingtown hitters including pinch-hitter Taylor Donaldson, who came on in the sixth reached base at least once.

“We’ve been struggling a bit with hitting,” said Taylor, who had three singles and a double. “We’ve been winning games, but we haven’t been scoring as many runs as we’ve wanted. I think our strongest point is our offense and I think we were just comfortable today.”

Johnson was pleased how Taylor bounced back from a tough offensive outing in a win over Great Mills two days earlier.

“I think Kass had a real good game today,” Johnson said. “She struggled a bit in her last game, but she really picked it up today.”

The loss was doubly costly for North Point as it saw yet another player go down with an injury. Sophomore pitcher Ashlee Thompson was struck on the right shin on a scorching line drive off the bat of Kelsey DeGennaro in the sixth.

Thompson immediately crumpled in a heap and several minutes later was carried from the field. Devin Heilmeier came on in relief.

“I can’t afford to have any more injuries,” said North Point head coach Tony Jones, who is already without catcher Kelsey Bovard (concussion). Nkili Matthews has a jaw injury but played against the Hurricanes.

North Point tied the game 1-1 when Thompson led off the fourth with a walk, went to third on Alanna Hirshman’s one-out single and scored on a wild pitch.

“We didn’t expect to be tied,” Taylor said, “so we knew we had to hit then or it was going to be a very close game.”

The Hurricanes immediately answered in the bottom of the inning. Kaitlyn Seger led off with a booming triple to right field and scored on Shea McFarland’s line drive single. Kassidy Kenney followed with a base hit and both baserunners crossed the plate on DeGennaro’s two-out single.

Huntingtown added two more runs in the fifth on Seger’s bunt single and Karlie Quinn’s base hit and plated three in the sixth thanks to A.J. Sweeney’s two-run double and a run-scoring single off the bat of Donaldson.

North Point’s second run came on Emily Subocz’s two-out single in the sixth.

Huntingtown pitcher Ali Vendemia scattered seven hits and struck out 13 Eagles. She also walked four.

“I just felt on today,” she said, “and my defense did a real good job.”

Huntingtown opened the scoring when leadoff batter Chloe Fitzgerald singled, stole second and crossed home plate on Taylor’s double down the left field line.

North Point had a great chance to put some runs on the board in the second when it loaded the bases, but Vendemia struck out Marquella Allen to end the inning.

“I thought Ali did a good job of getting us out of it,” Johnson said.

Jones said his team is improving in his second go-around with the club.

“We’re young in a lot of ways because I wasn’t here last year so I don’t know what went on, but I feel we’re getting stronger every game,” Jones said. “This was their strongest game through four innings. I’m excited, I’m excited where we’re going and I’m excited we’re working hard. The hitting is starting to come along and hitting is usually the last thing to come along. We’re getting there, we’re getting there.”

The Hurricanes are undefeated so far, but both Johnson and Taylor said the team is far from playing its best.

“We were really sloppy today on the bases and it’s something we have to address,” Johnson said. “I like the aggressiveness, but at times we’re just not paying attention to a situation."

“The potential’s there, we just have to put it all together,” Taylor said, “and when we do put it together, it’s dangerous.”

Huntingtown 9, North Point 2

North Point 000 100 1 — 2 7 1

Huntingtown 100 323 x — 9 12 0

WP Vendemia, LP Thompson

Extra-base hits: 2B Hirshman (NP), Taylor (NP), Sweeney (NP); 3B Seger (H)