Even though Seton Keough led Mount de Sales by eight runs in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s softball championship game, the Gators didn’t rest easy until junior pitcher Kelly Lynch threw her final pitch in the seventh.
The groundout back to Lynch ended the 8-1 victory and gave the Baltimore Sun's seventh-ranked Gators (16-3) their fifth Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title since 2003 and second in the past three years.
Seton Keough’s Lynch and several Gators lost last year’s title game to Mount de Sales, 7-6, after leading 5-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Mount de Sales rallied with seven runs that inning, but this time Lynch made sure the Sailors wouldn't be coming back as she struck out five and scattered 11 hits while nearly earning her 12th shutout of the season.
“I tried to keep it together and not have a repeat of last year,” said Lynch, who had at least two runners on in three innings.
She got all the run support she needed in the first.
Senior Allison Clampitt doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Morgan Scardina’s infield hit.
Back-to-back singles by Kelly Lynch and Amber Cosgrove loaded the bases and set up Hailee Clampitt for the biggest hit of the game.
Allison’s twin sister, Hailee, drilled a liner into right-center field and cleared the bases for a grand slam and 5-0 lead.
“If Allison gets on base, that sets up everything. I didn’t expect Hailee to hit a grand slam, but we’ll take it,” Seton Keough coach Chuck Snee said.
Hailee didn’t expect it, either.
“I was just thinking. 'have fun,' ” said Hailee, who did just that on the first pitch from sophomore Emily Fitzsimmons. “I’m not one for pressure situations.”
She delivered in a clutch situation again on her second at-bat when she drove in Cosgrove in the bottom of the third to give the Gators a 6-0 lead.
Jillian Boyd drilled a two-run double to extend the lead to 8-0.
“Last year, today was that day, May 13, so I felt even more pressure all day when I realized that and then us going up 5-0, ‘I was really, '5, can we get 6, another number.' ”
Seton Kough did and the 11th-ranked Sailors (14-7) scored their only run on an RBI single by Emma Mires in the top of the fourth.
“I’m proud of my girls. We weren’t supposed to be here,” Mount de Sales coach Pete Waskiewicz said. “They hit the ball well and you've got to hand it to them, and she (Lynch) threw the ball well and got out of situations when she could.”
“Hailee was the MVP of the game,” Lynch said. “Personally, I don’t think we would have gotten here without Hailee because of her sacrifice she made for the team.”
Clampitt, a second baseman last season, moved to catcher for the first time in her career after two catching candidates were injured.
“That was the key to the season,” Snee said “She’s done a phenomenal job behind the plate.”
And in the championship game, she was just as phenomenal at the plate.