Sophomore Ashley Woodall pitched a two-hitter and hit a grand slam to lead visiting Laurel to an 18-2 victory over High Point Thursday in a Class 4A first-round softball playoff game shortened to six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The victory advances the fourth-seeded Spartans into the quarterfinal round, where they’ll play top-seeded Northwestern Monday in Hyattsville.
Laurel first-year coach Jennifer McGillin would be thrilled if Woodall could duplicate Thursday's performance Monday.
Woodall struck out 12 batters and walked only one.
“When she is on, she is as tough as anybody,” High Point coach Michael Lewis said.
Woodall also shined at the plate, going 3-for-5 with 7 RBI.
Teammate Tia Craft, a senior shortstop, collected three hits and drove in three runs while sophomore third baseman Katie Cardinal had two hits and knocked in two runs.
Before Laurel’s offense started to produce, Woodall wiggled out of jam in the bottom of the first inning.
With the bases loaded and no one, she proceeded to strike out Paulann Smith, Gabby Salvador and Genesis Baez.
Laurel (9-5) did most of its damage offensively in the late innings, but the Spartans never trailed and went ahead 1-0 in the second when Jamie Snider scored on Sharon Gilbertz’s fielder’s choice.
Laurel added four more runs in the third, which Woodall highlighted with a run-scoring double to center field.
After High Point (4-9) trimmed the lead to 5-1 in the third on Smith’s triple, the Spartans answered with a run in the fourth as Andrea Williams scored on Craft’s ground out to the shortstop.
High Point finished its scoring in the fifth as Smith clubbed a home run to the right-center field gap.
Laurel pushed across 12 runs in the sixth. Woodall keyed it with a grand slam over the left fielder.
“It took us a while to get going offensively,” McGillin saidCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun