August 16, 2018
Sports
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  • All In The Family: Moms and dads joined their daughters for a season-ending photo as the 18U Green Hornets completed another strong season together and reached the end of an era after years of playing together on Green Hornets and Severna Park High School teams.
    Photo courtesy of Tom Dolan
    All In The Family: Moms and dads joined their daughters for a season-ending photo as the 18U Green Hornets completed another strong season together and reached the end of an era after years of playing together on Green Hornets and Severna Park High School teams.

Finishing Touch: 18 Green Hornets Close Outstanding Season

Colin Murphy
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August 8, 2018

One chapter in the current golden age of softball in Severna Park has come to a close.

Severna Park’s 18U Green Hornets softball team — seven of whom formed the core of the high school’s state championship team this past spring — ran it back for one last successful tournament season playing together this summer.

The Green Hornets claimed championships in four of their six tournaments this summer, winning titles at the Fear the Fastpitch, Rock ‘n’ Rumble, Queen of Diamonds and Save Second Base tournaments.

The roster of Jes Adams, Mandy Purzner, Alyssa Dolan, Emma Hall, Lauren Cook, Sarah Sherman, Madison Gerard, Kylie Dingess, Campbell Kline, Hailey Manning, Izzy Duron, Emily Summers, Emily Gabbard and Abby Becker was not at full strength for much of the summer as the team navigated illnesses, family vacations and varied commitments, but the Green Hornets still played to a 25-12-2 overall record. Dolan, Sherman, Manning, Summers and Becker all played at Severna Park; Hall, Gerard, Dingess, Kline and Gabbard are entering their senior years at Severna Park; and Adams (South River ’18), Purzner (Glen Burnie ’18), Cook (North County ’18) and Duron (Bowie ’20) fortified the squad.

Coached by Buddy Dingess, Derek Gabbard, Geoff Hall, Joe Becker and Dennis Adams, the Green Hornets formed an identity as a team that played every game to the final out no matter the circumstances.

“These ladies never panic or give up,” said coach Hall. “They have had too many last-inning heroics and comebacks to count.”

In the Fear the Fastpitch tournament, the Hornets scored five runs in the top half of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie and claim the championship trophy over the Catonsville Chaos, 7-4. In the Rock ‘n’ Rumble, the Green Hornets held the Maryland Fever scoreless over the final four innings to win the semifinal 2-1, then won the championship game 2-0 over the Hughesville Hustle with two runs in the last inning.

In the Queen of Diamonds tournament, the Green Hornets were down to their final out when trailing the Northern Calvert Fury 2-0 in their first elimination game, only to tie the game on a base hit by Sherman and take the lead on a two-run, two-out single by Manning and win 4-2. In the championship game against the Heartbreakers Elite, Sherman singled on the 10th pitch of an at bat in the bottom of the seventh inning with Severna Park trailing 3-2. Gerard brought Sherman home with a base hit, and Hall hit a walk-off single that scored Summers as Severna Park claimed the championship with a 4-3 win.

Severna Park’s coaches have watched their daughters notch a slew of accomplishments playing together over the years, from a 12U USSSA state championship in 2013 to an 18U USSSA state championship in 2017 to the Falcons’ Class 4A state championship in 2018, culminating with another outstanding summer season this year that saw them rise to the No. 1 ranking in Maryland and as high as 13th in the country out of 793 teams.

“This Hornets team is a special group of young women who enjoy playing softball at a high level, and support and encourage each other on and off the field,” said coach Dingess, who reflected on the cohesion of the girls and families as a large, supportive group, a great deal of which was documented in photographs over the years by Joe Becker and Tom Dolan. “The coaches couldn’t ask for a better team of athletes and parents. The memories and relationships will be treasured.”

Coach Becker said the team has long inspired their families with their brand of play.

“I love watching them play,” he said.

Coach Gabbard said the success of the team on the field was only a part of the joy everyone experienced.

“It’s been a great ride,” he said. “The wins were great, the people were better.”


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