COLLEGE PARK - Dulaney softball team’s Cinderella-esque run hit the proverbial midnight Saturday afternoon.
Urbana from Frederick County ended the Lions’ season with a 8-2 victory in the Class 4A state championship game at the University of Maryland. Kayla Bright and Riley Hodiste each had an RBI for Dulaney.
The Hawks (20-3 overall) imposed their will in the opening inning to set the stage for their first state title since 2011. Cici Bullock went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs for Urbana, and Delaney Reefe finished with three hits and scored two runs.
Saturday marked Dulaney’s first state championship game appearance since 2001 when the Lions lost 1-0 to Westminster in the 4A finale at Randazzo Park in Anne Arundel County.
“We played well all year, but really great the last eight games of the season,” said Lions coach Dave Barwick. “They gelled, the seniors helped the freshman. It was a great run.”
“It’s been an amazing season especially having all these freshmen come in and us having a big senior class,” said Bright. “It’s been so much fun.”
Bright accounted for Dulaney’s second run, doubling home freshman Kiani Bright from first in the sixth inning. Hodiste, also a senior, brought home freshman courtesy runner Ava O’Donnell in the fourth with the Lions’ first run.
But the Baltimore County school (16-6), which posted runs in each inning of its semifinal victory over No. 15 Broadneck Tuesday evening at Bachmann Park, never got its footing against Urbana Saturday. The Hawks ended Montgomery County powerhouse Sherwood (winners of seven 4A championships since 2012) title reign in the other semifinal Tuesday evening at Bachmann.
The Lions’ first three batters went down swinging against Reefe, who will play for Maryland next spring. With two outs, Reefe scored on Bullock’s two-run double that was immediately followed by Maggie Hummer’s run-scoring triple to center.
“We’re on our heels right away…we tried to control the game,” said Barwick. “We haven’t been run up (10-run) by anyone this season.”
The Lions got a run back in the top of the fourth, set up by Lilly Tinkler’s leadoff single. The momentum didn’t last as, again, with two outs, Urbana got RBI singles from Kaelynn Burge and Reefe in the bottom half to go up 5-1.
The Hawks added RBI singles from Delainey Quartucci and Charlotte Wilson in the fifth. Urbana finished with 16 hits Saturday.
“They’re amazing,” said Barwick, “a little better than us right now.”
Barwick is excited about the future as freshman Bright, Carly Desi (catcher) and Chloe Renaldo (shortstop) started Saturday along with juniors Tinker and Hannah Harpster (outfield). The Lions won 15 of their final 17 games after back-to-back losses in April.
Bright, who will play at Notre Dame of Maryland next year, said the Lions’ unexpected run to Maryland will be a lifelong memory.
“These girls are my forever. They made a difference in my life,” said Bright. “Making a difference at Dulaney and being able to do that (make state final) for the first time in 22 years is a great accomplishment.”
CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
at University of Maryland
URBANA 8, DULANEY 2
Dulaney 000 101 0 - 2 4 1
Urbana 300 221 x - 8 16 2
Tinker and Desi; Reefe and Hummer
2B: Dulaney - Bright; Urbana - Reefe, Bullock