Linganore softball coach Andrea Poffinberger started breathing a little easier after Delaney Ridgell’s three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning on Friday.
The Lancers, playing their second road game in three days, were struggling to stay ahead of home-standing Manchester Valley in the Class 3A West championship game.
With the score tied in the fifth, Ridgell’s blast gave Linganore a 7-4 lead. From there, the Lancers went on to an 8-5 win over the Mavericks, giving Linganore (14-6) its first regional championship since 2017.
“We’d score a run, then they’d come back and score,” Poffinberger said. “That’s the way it was early. Then came the home run.”
The Lancers move on to Tuesday’s Class 3A state semifinals at Bachman Softball Complex in Glen Burnie. Linganore faces Chesapeake (Anne Arundel County) at 7 p.m. on Field 6.
The Lancers lost to Huntingtown two years ago in the state semis.
“This team has made so much progress this season,” Poffinberger said. “Early in the season, we made a ton of errors. Then we started playing much better. This is a pretty young team, so we had to work on getting better with each game.”
Playing on the road for its last two games was sort of a challenge as well, taking on the Hubs at North Hagerstown, then heading to face Manchester Valley in northern Carroll County two days later for the regional crown.
“Those were some long bus rides,” Poffinberger said. “But we got through it. The team came prepared to play.”
Emily Day and Claire Thomas each had three hits for Linganore on Friday. Paige Wilhelm had two hits with a double. Jenna McLain doubled. She was also the winning pitcher with six strikeouts.
— Bill Cauley