BEL AIR — Despite losing both meetings in the regular season, confidence wasn’t an issue for McDonogh heading into Saturday’s Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference softball final with Archbishop Spalding.
Kearstyn Chapman pitched a complete-game four-hit shutout and struck out five to lead the Eagles to a 1-0 victory over the Cavaliers on Saturday at Harford Community College.
McDonogh, one of two teams to defeat Severna Park during the regular season, won its second A Conference title and first since 2001.
“We lost the two games to them by a total of three runs,” McDonogh coach John Folfas said. “In the second game, we just weren’t hitting the ball. We told the girls to find a different approach today and to make some adjustments. We hit some hard balls today.”
While the Eagles managed just five hits, Chapman turned in a gem. The Cavaliers threatened in the first and third innings, but left a runner in scoring position in the first and stranded a pair of runners in the third. They also had a runner doubled off first base to end the second inning.
After Sarah Slaton singled and stole second in the bottom of the fifth, Chapman retired the final eight hitters she faced.
“I was trying to work up and down. I would come with a rise ball, then throw a changeup to get their timing off,” said Chapman, a sophomore. “Even if they did get a pretty good hit, it was played well by our defense.”
The Eagles scored the only run of the game in the top of the third when Emma Lach hit a one-out single, was sacrificed to second by Ruby Jocelyn and scored on Madison Gemmill’s single.
McDonogh (10-5) threatened again in the top of the fifth when it loaded the bases with none out, but Cavaliers’ starter Jordan Moore used a force at home, a strikeout and a lineout to get out of the inning.
“I thought that was going to be the turning point,” Archbishop Spalding coach Nicki Trumpler said. “When we shut that down I thought we were going to capitalize, but we just couldn’t find it.”
Lach finished 3 for 4 and scored the game’s only run and Chapman was on base twice for the Eagles, who closed the season by winning four straight and six of their last seven.
“Spalding is a phenomenal team,” Folfas said. “The girls really stuck to the plan.”
Moore, the winning pitcher in the Cavaliers’ semifinal victory over Mount de Sales, went seven innings and gave up the just the one run on five hits. She’s one of four sophomores on a Spalding team that graduates just two seniors and had eight juniors on this year’s squad which lost just once in the conference in the regular season.
“Unfortunately one team has to win and one team has to lose, and we came up just a little bit short today,” Trumpler said. “I couldn’t say more about this team. They have everything to be proud of. McDonogh played a heck of a game.”
McDonogh (10-5) 001 000 0 — 1 5 0
Spalding (10-7) 000 000 0 — 0 4 1