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  • The 18U Green Hornets went 22-10-1 overall with a USSSA B state title.
    Photo courtesy of Tom Dolan
    The 18U Green Hornets went 22-10-1 overall with a USSSA B state title.

Green Hornets 18U Girls Capture USSSA B State Crown

Colin Murphy
View Bio
August 8, 2017

The Green Hornets 18U softball team punctuated its outstanding summer season with a title-winning run at the United States Specialty Sports Association’s B state championship tournament at Bachman Park over the weekend of June 23-25.

The team of Jes Adams, Mandy Purzner, Alyssa Dolan, Emma Hall, Lauren Cook, Sarah Sherman, Madison Gerard, Campbell Kline, Kylie Dingess, Hailey Manning, Izzy Duron, Emily Gabbard, Emily Summers and Abby Becker went 6-1 overall at the tournament, capturing a state crown by defeating many of the best teams from throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Coaches Buddy Dingess, Derek Gabbard, Geoff Hall, Joe Becker and Dennis Adams “agree this has been the tightest-knit team,” said Hall following the team’s state-title victory.

The road through the state championship tournament featured several exciting moments and dramatic victories, including an early-round win in which the Green Hornets rallied from an 0-6 hole in the first inning to win 7-6 against the Western Howard County Fever.

In the tournament’s Sweet 16 stage, the Green Hornets broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk off with a 1-0 win against BP Cyclones Elite.

In the USSSA B State Championship final, the Green Hornets went to extra innings tied 3-3 with the MVSA Storm Thunder, rallied for three runs with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and held on for a 6-5 victory to clinch the state crown.

In all, the team played seven games in a 30-hour stretch, winning six of them (including three wins by one run) en route to the tile.

The state title capped a stellar season in which the team placed third or higher in several other tournaments, including the Black Eyed Susan in central Maryland in May and the Father’s Day Spectacular in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The team finished the season with a 4-2 performance at the World Series in Ocean City, winning more games than any other Maryland team in a tournament that featured teams from over 10 states and as far away as Colorado.

Throughout the season, the team was powered by a range of individual contributions. Manning led the team with a .431 batting average. Duron led the team in runs with 20 and played a gold-glove-worthy first base. Becker led the team in walks with 13. Dolan led the team in most hard-hit line drives with 31. Kline belted three of the team’s five triples on the season. Purzner had a quality at-bat percentage of 60 percent. Gabbard batted .667 in the World Series. Summers had two double-play assists from right field and also threw out multiple runners at first base from right field. Hall batted .500 with runners in scoring position. Adams compiled a stellar 1.62 ERA in 125 innings pitched, and Dingess hurled a 2-to-1 strike-to-ball ratio. Cook made spectacular plays roaming center field, while Sherman was outstanding in relief pitching appearances.

The success of the squad does not figure to slow down. Ten of the team’s 14 players were young enough to play for a 16U team this summer, while 10 of the team’s 14 players also played varsity for Severna Park this past spring and a handful of the girls were on the Green Hornets 12U state championship team in 2013. The team always batted 11 girls (the maximum allowed per league rules) and “focused on playing time and player development rather than strictly on winning,” said coach Hall. The Green Hornets finished with the fewest runs allowed per game for teams from Maryland that played at least 10 games.

The team went 22-10-1 overall, and coach Hall credited the work ethic and team-centric mindset of the girls in their success.

“The Green Hornets worked hard at practice and games, always encouraging one another,” he said. “The players and parents are all close and genuinely care about each other.”

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