CHESAPEAKE CITY — Cambridge-South Dorchester High’s softball team fell at the arm of Bohemia Manor junior phenom Maddie Penta for the second straight season Friday in the Class 1A East Region final.
Penta and Viking sophomore ace Madison Pleasants battled through four scoreless innings before the two-time defending state-champion Eagles pushed three runs across in the bottom of the fifth en route to a 4-1 victory. Penta hurled a complete game one-hitter with 15 strikeouts.
Bo Manor heads to the state championships after they beat West champion Brunswick 4-2 on Tuesday. Cambridge-SD finishes the season at 17-6.
Pleasants matched Penta pitch for pitch for much of the game, allowing three hits and striking out nine.
“I’m proud of our girls because I really saw growth throughout the entire year,” Cambridge-SD head coach Kareem Otey said. “Even today, we played much, much better up here against Bo Manor than we did last year. We put the ball in play a lot more. We worked the counts.
“Maddie P pitched another great game for us, good enough to win,” Otey added. “But Bo Manor is the two-time defending state champions for a reason. They have a great pitcher and a great team. But we showed we can be in these games against the top teams around the state.”
Through four innings, the pitchers combined to allow just one hit, a second-inning single by C-SD’s Kady Willey. Pleasants blanked the Eagles with six strikeouts through two innings.
In the top of the third, Cambridge-SD’s Delanie Henry walked. Pleasants battled Penta, fouling off several pitches, before fanning on a powerful rise ball to end the inning.
No other serious scoring threats occurred until the bottom of the fifth, when Bo Manor’s Aubrey Heath singled to right and advanced to third after consecutive passed balls. Lexi Bailey reached on a fielder’s choice after a play was attempted on Heath, who retreated safely back to third. Bailey advanced to second with no one covering the base.
Anna Wilson followed with a bunt, but Pleasants looked Heath back to third, then threw to first for an out. Megan Mullins then stroked a two-run single to right for a 2-0 Eagles lead. Mullins later scored on Penta’s sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
Cambridge-SD responded in the top of the sixth. Ariah Matos reached on an error and advanced to second. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Pleasants’ sacrifice fly to center, cutting the lead to 3-1. Penta induced a popout to end the inning.
Bo Manor tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth when Emily Heath scored on Wilson’s sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead.
C-SD’s Abby Robinson reached with a two-out walk in the seventh, but Pentra got a strikeout to end the game.
“We are losing such amazing seniors,” Otey said. “Maddie Lednum is the heart and soul of our team. She is an amazing leader. I’ve had her for four years.
“I’m proud of each and every one of my players,” Otey added. “They played their hearts out. You take away the fifth inning and we have a 1-1 game. We played a game that gave us a chance to win. That is all you can ever ask for. We’ll be back.”