LARGO – International High School of Largo looked poised to upset No. 5 seed McDonough in the first round of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) softball playoffs after scoring four runs at the top of the first inning on May 9.
However, the performance of infielder Reed Butler and relief pitcher Haley Arnold helped turn the balance in favor of the Rams. The Pomfret-based squad secreted 23 hits to storm back and eliminate the Prince George’s County team 21-4 in a five-inning shortened game.
The Sea Turtles started strong in the bottom of the first inning after surrendering the game’s first three runs. Largo loaded the bases on walks for sophomore Reyna Hernandez to connect with a hit towards the left-field wall which drove in three runs to tie the game. Largo added another run to end the inning with a one-point lead.
However, McDonough bounced back right away in the second as Butler crushed a Hernandez pitch to left center field for a grand slam to reclaim the lead. The senior would come back again in the third inning with an RBI double to left field to add two more runs to the Rams lead. Butler ended her offensive day going 5-for-5 and driving in seven runners.
The runs continued coming in the second inning as three consecutive singles drove in three runs for the Rams.
In the fourth inning, after Butler hit a double, Arnold connected with a hit down the left field foul line, to drive in the Rams’ 16th score.
Entering in relief in the second inning, Arnold made quick work of Sea Turtle batters, earning the save with seven strikeouts in four innings of work. Largo would cause the most problems for Arnold in the bottom of the fourth inning with a single error and two stolen bases. However, Arnold would strike out two consecutive batters to end the inning with no additional runs added.
Largo would finish the game with three hits and five errors committed. Hernandez would earn the loss after pitching four and 1/3 innings and was removed after she was cut on her throwing hand trying to make a groundout. Right-hander Gicela Rodriguez came in for relief and threw two strikeouts.