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  • The Northeast softball team went 18-6 overall in 2017 and won the region championship for a second straight season.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    The Northeast softball team went 18-6 overall in 2017 and won the region championship for a second straight season.

Northeast Girls Reflect Proudly After Two Straight Region Crowns

Colin Murphy
View Bio
June 14, 2017

The season didn’t finish with the ultimate prize, but the Northeast softball team still has a lot to be proud of.

The Eagles further cemented the longstanding excellence of Northeast softball this spring by going 18-6 overall and winning the 3A East region championship for the second straight season.

“We did something big, we won back to back region titles,” said senior captain Maria Weddle. “We worked hard, and did what we could.”

The Eagles surged past Glenelg and into the state tournament for a second straight season by defeating them 13-1 in five innings on May 20 in the 3A East region final. It made for back-to-back region crowns for the Eagles, who have appeared in the state tournament a whopping 17 times since 1982.

In the victory over the Gladiators, the Eagles’ Jenna Matulonis scattered seven hits and notched two strikeouts in getting the victory, while Weddle and Sarah Gordon led Northeast’s 16-hit day with three hits apiece. Veronica Hampton, Alexis Brengle, Kirstin Midkiff, Chelsey Manansala, Hailey Lewis, Melanie Kral, Christina Jordan, Mallory Hetzel and Matulonis all were offensive contributors in the Eagles’ victory.

The win followed perhaps an even bigger victory over rival Chesapeake on May 17 in the 3A East Section I final, when Jordan pitched a complete game, allowing only three hits and striking out seven in helping Northeast subdue the host Cougars’ potent lineup en route to a 5-1 win. Brengle (two singles, one RBI), Manansala (one single), Gordon (two singles, two runs, two steals), Weddle (two singles, three runs, one RBI), Matulonis (two singles, one RBI) and Jordan (RBI sac fly) all had big days at the plate for Northeast.

Alas, the Eagles came up short in the state semifinals the following week, falling to eventual 3A state champion C. Milton Wright, 5-2. Kral and Hampton tallied RBIs in that contest, and the game was close throughout, but C.M. Wright pulled away late and held on for the win.

The Eagles nonetheless were able to appreciate how hard it is to win it all and how much of an accomplishment it is to keep the program contending for a state crown year-in, year-out.

“Being back-to-back regional champs is something that I’m proud to say that I helped with,” said Brengle, the team’s four-year starter at catcher. “My team was like a bunch of little annoying brothers that I endlessly loved. Catching, I have always learned that I help keep the backbone of this team together, as they do also. I’m proud of my team for all being leaders and all staying strong for my last season, and this was a season to remember for me.”

Weddle said the team was naturally disappointed to come up two wins shy of winning the program’s first state title since 1999, but that they can rest easy knowing they gave it their all.

“We had fun and worked hard, that’s what softball is all about: Working together and becoming a team,” she said. “We were a team, honestly the best team I have ever been on. How close we were and how much we cared about each other was amazing. [We were] a team on and off the field. That’s all a girl can ask for, an amazing team that she can call her sisters.”

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