By B.J. Koubaroulis
As Kerry Hickey's home run sailed out of the University of Maryland's softball complex Friday, it cleared the "Maryland" painted on the stadium's 10-foot fence in left field. It was fitting the Huntingtown senior's game-breaking shot soared over the word just as the All-Met has towered above the state's softball scene this season.
The University of Maryland-bound Hickey struck out 12 batters in a one-hitter that pushed second-ranked Huntingtown to the 4-0 win over Northeast in the Maryland 3A title game. Hickey improved her career record to 53-4 and helped the Hurricanes (22-1) to their third consecutive 3A title.
"She's going to be here next year, and she's got her head coach [Laura Watten] watching her, and she takes it into her own hands. I mean that was a shot. She crushed the ball," Huntingtown Coach Mike Johnson said. "This kid is something else. She can do things that no one else can do."
That's what Hickey has done at Huntingtown for the last three years, becoming what Johnson called "the best pitcher on the East Coast."
Hickey struck out three batters to close the bottom of the fourth inning with runners on second and third base to preserve a two-year, 48-game streak in which she has not allowed an earned run.
"I'd lie if I said it wasn't nerve-racking because the girl [on third] was very quick," Hickey said. "Any mistake could have changed the outcome of the game. I just had to stay focused and calm."
Over the last two seasons, Hickey has struck out 645 batters in 235 innings. She struck out 326 this season en route to a 22-1 record -- a long way from her days as a backup at Calvert High School.
"We've been open for three years and three state titles," said Hickey, who was part of Huntingtown's first softball team. "To be a part of that team is awesome."
Hickey was also went 2 for 3 with an RBI, and her home run sparked the Hurricanes' sixth-inning rally that pushed eight batters to the plate and resulted in four hits and all four of the team's runs.
Sophomore Becca Morgan hit a shot off the center field fence that drove in Jennifer Price and Jess Warner to give the Hurricanes the 4-0 lead.