John Carroll pitcher Emma Kropkowski found herself smothered under a heap of teammates after getting the final out against Mount de Sales.
The Patriots had plenty of reason to celebrate knocking off perennial power Mount de Sales, 7-2, to win the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title Tuesday at Harford Community College. John Carroll had not won a league softball title since 1999, the year most of their seniors were born.
"We did what we did all season: just hit the ball," Patriots coach Sherry Hudson said. "Emma always keeps us in games. We hit the ball hard and scored some runs. We're a good-hitting team."
Kropkowski allowed just two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in a complete game. Patriots freshman outfielder Emma Ritter had four hits and two RBIs for John Carroll (9-7).
The Sailors (12-8) advanced to the title game for the fifth straight year but have not won since 2013. The game was the last for Mount de Sales coach Pete Waskiewicz, who is retiring after 24 years at the helm.
"I am playing golf and I will sit out in left field with a cooler and a chair," Waskiewicz said. "I'm going to enjoy it."
Mount de Sales took a 1-0 lead in the second when it scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
John Carroll hit some line drives that were caught by infielders, then broke through in the fourth when Erica James led off with a double before Sarah Spaeth and Gabriela Centi reached on bunts. Shannon Sweeney followed with a two-run double.
The Patriots increased their lead to 4-2 an inning later on RBI singles by Ritter and Jules Donnelly. From there, Kropkowski kept the Sailors off balance by mixing her pitches.
"It feels great," Kropkowski said. "It was unexpected. We all get along very well and mesh as a team."
John Carroll put the game away with three more runs in the sixth. Sweeney had a one-out single and scored when Meghan Sheehan followed with a double. Kropkowski helped her own cause with a triple, and Ritter rounded out the scoring with another RBI single.
Mount de Sales loaded the bases in the seventh, but Kropkowski got three straight outs to close out the game. The Sailors left 12 men on base, which Waskiewicz lamented after the game. Mount de Sales had won both regular-season meetings with John Carroll.
"If we could have answered back with some [runs], maybe we could have still been in the ballgame," Waskiewicz said. "When you leave the bases loaded three times … we just didn't execute."
Maryvale 12, Roland Park 9: The Lions used their heavy-hitting lineup to defend their IAAM B Conference title with a decisive win over the Reds (8-4).
Maryvale (9-3) broke the game open with 11 hits in a 10-run third inning after trailing 4-0 in the first inning. Brooke Franklin went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs, while Riley Vicendese went for 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles for the Lions.
Mount Carmel 8, Friends 3: The Cougars (10-4) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit by scoring five runs in the sixth to pull out the victory over the Quakers (7-4).
It was Mount Carmel's first IAAM title in softball. Friends was shooting for its first championship since 2005.