Advertisement

Prep Softball: Mehrling shuts down Brunswick as Rebels snap 39-game skid

March 27, 2013|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — South Hagerstown’s girls softball team may have been mired in a 39-game losing streak dating back to 2010, but for freshman Katelyn Mehrling, the streak was only one.

After striking out 11 in a season-opening 1-0 loss to Tuscarora on Friday, Mehrling fired a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts on Tuesday as the Rebels made two third-inning runs stand up for a 2-1 victory over Brunswick in the MVAL Antietam opener for both teams.

“We really wanted to win,” Mehrling said. “We realized we could do it (after the Tuscarora loss). ... Coming in as a freshman is a lot of pressure, but I like it. I play better under pressure.”

South (1-1, 1-0) last tasted victory in the first round of the Maryland Class 3A West playoffs, 28-17 over Kennedy, on May 13, 2010. The Rebels also snapped a 35-game losing streak in the MVAL Antietam, dating back to a forfeit victory over North Hagerstown (which used an ineligible player) on April 14, 2010.

The Rebels’ last conference victory on the field came when they were in the MVAL Piedmont and beat Middletown 5-2 on May 8, 2009.

“We’ve struggled the last few years,” South coach Angela Jeffries said. “Now we have someone who can take over a game. She’s a power pitcher and she gives the rest of the team confidence.”

Mehrling was perfect through three innings with six strikeouts — including five straight.

South took the lead in the third. Olivia Griffin drew a leadoff walk before Brunswick starter Morgan Laing struck out the next two Rebels. But Mehrling lined a two-out single to center that got past the center fielder for an error, allowing Griffin to score easily. Jeffries waved a hustling Mehrling homeward and she also scored, beating the throw comfortably.

“We’ve going to have to be aggressive,” Jeffries said. “We’re going to be in a lot of low-scoring games and we have to find ways to score runs when we can.”

Mehrling was perfect through two outs in the fourth when Ashley Smith reached on an infield error. Becca Beachley followed with the only hit for Brunswick (0-2, 0-1), a clean single down the left-field line, and it got past the left fielder for an error that allowed Smith to score easily.

The Railroaders waved Beachley homeward on the play, but the relay throw from the outer edge of the infield beat her and catcher Darian Kamara held on while absorbing Beachley’s hard slide for the third out, keeping South in front.

Brunswick had a final chance in the seventh, as the first two hitters reached base — Smith on an infield error and Beachley on Mehrling’s only walk allowed. But Michelle Kettner struck out on a check swing — a call the Railroaders coaches vehemently argued, to no avail — and Mehrling struck out the next two hitters to cap her gem.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” Mehrling said of the final inning. “I play a lot of travel ball and I’m used to it, but it’s different in high school ball because you want to win for the school.”

Mehrling didn’t play like a typical freshman, keeping a deliberate pace and executing her changeup in all counts to keep the Railroaders guessing.

“Sometimes, she’ll shake me off and go to the change,” Jeffries said. “She does have a lot of poise and a lot of confidence, which in turn will hopefully roll over to the rest of the team.”

South Hagerstown 2, Brunswick 1
Brunswick    000    100    0    —    1    1    3
South    002    000    x    —    2    2    4
Laing and Beachley. Mehrling and Kamara. WP — Mehrling (1-1). LP — Laing.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|