With star pitcher Madison Knight graduated, some figured Patterson Mill High softball team would take a step back this spring.
To steal a line from longtime ESPN’s College GameDay analyst Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.” The 11th-ranked Huskies defeated No. 13 Fallston, 1-0, in an UCBAC Chesapeake Division battle Tuesday afternoon in Harford County.
Patterson Mill, last spring’s No. 1 in the final VSN poll, scratched out a run in the opening frame and three pitchers combined on a 5-hitter as the Bel Air school extended its regular season winning streak to 42 games. The Huskies (5-0 overall, 4-0 Chesapeake) last lost a regular season match May 1, 2019.
There was no season in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patterson Mill went 43-1 the previoius two seasons behind Knight, who was VSN’s Pitcher of the Year in 2022 and 2021 as well the Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year. Now a freshman at Syracuse University, Knight tossed the 11th no-hitter in school history last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Huskies are reinventing themselves.
“‘May-day’ was a great pitcher, great leader and helped us get where we were,” said Patterson Mill third basemen Lily Hofmeister. “We definitely want to prove we can win games without her.”
“Everybody kind of wrote us off…before we were trying to build this program,” said Patterson Mill coach Jeff Horton, whose team lost in the Class 1A state final last spring at the University of Maryland after claiming the top prize in 2021 at Randazzo Park in Glen Burnie. “Now, they’re seeing what we’re building is real.”
Horton pointed to each position around the field late Tuesday afternoon. Other than the right side of the infield with seniors Kelsey Price (second base) and Ella Laurentius (first), Patterson Mill played with underclassmen.
Sophomore Lily Baldwin started on the mound for the Huskies, tossing the first three innings. Aubrey March and Alyssa Miller each pitched two innings. Miller, a senior, retired the game’s final two batters after putting the tying run on with a walk.
Horton said he’s used Baldwin, the lefty March and Miller in the same pitching order this season.
“Our pitchers are able to do limited innings, just do enough to keep everybody off-balanced,” said Horton.
Maddy Burns kept Patterson Mill’s bats mainly in check Tuesday. The Villanova University commit allowed four hits and struck out 13.
The Huskies got all they would need against Burns in their opening at-bat. Sophomore Kenzie Knight opened with a bunt single and moved to second after a two-out walk to March. Hofmeister singled in Kenzie Knight.
Kenzie Knight and Hofmeister, also a sophomore, each had two hits off Burns Tuesday.
Fallston (6-3, 2-3 Chesapeake), which was retired in order only twice Tuesday, got the leadoff batter on in the second, third, and sixth inning to no avail.
The game was delayed nearly 30 minutes in the fourth after Trisha Armstrong was injured sliding into second base on a successful steal. She was taken by to a nearby hospital to be evaluated for a possible concussion and neck injury.
When play resumed, Ally Underwood reached on a walk, putting runners at first and second with one out for the Cougars. A pair of forced outs at third ended the threat.
In the seventh, Sara Frist induced a one-out walk and stole second for Fallston. Miller got Burns to pop out to sophomore Savannah Reedy at short and struck out Aleisa Rowe to secure the victory.
The Cougars left six runners on base.
“We knew we were going to battle hard for it. I think the injury set us back a little mentally, but we pushed through,” said Fallston coach Carrie Clark, whose team travels to No. 6 Rising Sun Wednesday afternoon. “I’m pleased with a 1-0 loss to a team that hasn’t lost in a while.”
NO. 11 PATTERSON MILL 1, NO. 13 FALLSTON 0
Patterson Mill 100 000 0 - 1 4 1
Fallston 000 000 0 - 0 5 1
Baldwin, March (4), Miller (6) and Hiebler; Burns and Frist.
2B: Patterson Mill - Hofmeister