South Carroll seems to pride itself in lacking a true superstar, a bona fide go-to player opponents can scout and prepare for no matter what.
Instead, the Cavaliers feel they have a handful of standouts. Heck, coach Matt Cannistraci says he and his assistants believe anyone can come through at any time during the game.
That belief was evident in Tuesday's Class 2A state semifinal at Bachman Park against Southern-Anne Arundel, where the Cavaliers put together an efficient performance to win 2-0 and advance to their first championship game.
South Carroll (18-5) got eight strikeouts from junior pitcher Chloe Sharman and solid defense around the diamond. The Cavs got big at-bats from the bottom of their order against Bulldogs ace Caitlin Brumley.
And perhaps more importantly, they got an early lead that calmed some of the jangled nerves that tend to riser up when playing on such a large stage.
"We just had to keep everybody focused on the main goal, which is states," said senior center fielder Morgan Alder.
Added senior third baseman Katlyn Davis: "We all know not to let it get into our heads. ... We're pretty good at that."
Alder's RBI double in the second inning scored Davis, whose one-out single got the rally going. Alder and Davis, and junior first baseman Victoria Holston, made a day of being on the basepaths for the Cavs.
They represented SC's 7-8-9 hitters in the lineup, and they combined for seven of the Cavaliers' nine hits.
Davis went 3-for-3 with a run. Holston was 2-for-3. Alder added two hits and an RBI.
The Cavs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fifth when freshman shortstop Sydni Carroll led off with a triple and came home on senior second baseman Sam Amateau's RBI single.
An insurance run for Sharman, who worked around Southern's five hits like an experienced pitcher.
"Like I've said before, a shutout isn't a shutout without ... you can't win without your offense," she said. "They do such a great job at making sure that ... even through it was only two runs, it was what we needed. They did exactly what they had to do to make sure we were where we needed to be to win the game."
The Bulldogs (11-14), making their first state semifinal appearance, had a runner on second base in three different innings but couldn't push one across the plate.
Hannah Davis doubled in the first inning with two outs but was stranded. Kat Treff and Madie Cihocki had back-to-singles in the third, but Sharman got a popout and flyout after that.
Cihocki led off the sixth with a single and stole second base, only to watch Sharman set down the next three Bulldogs in order. Danielle Vignola struck out with one out in the seventh but reached first on a passed ball. Vignola landed awkardlly on the base and had to leave the game, but the baserunner never got any further.
Sharman got Summer Moomau to pop to catch Devin Scales, and Mina Work on a foul-tip strike three that Scales snared for the final out.
Scales bolted toward Sharman in front of the pitcher;s circle, and the Cavaliers celebrated.
"We knew we could do it," Davis said.
The Cavaliers will be facing unbeaten North Caroline (23-0), which edged Eastern Tech 3-2 in the other 2A semifinal, Friday night at 8 at University of Maryland.
SC's run gives Carroll County a softball state finalist for a fifth time in the last six seasons. One more win gives the Cavs their first state championship.
"That was their goal from the beginning of the season," Cannistraci said. "We have made it to the goal. Now we have to achieve the goal."
Southern 000 000 0 — 0 5 2
South Carroll 010 010 x — 2 9 0
S-Caitlin Brumley and Lauren Cox; SC-Chloe Sharman and Devin Scales. 2B: S-Hannah Davis; SC-Morgan Alder, Katlyn Davis. 3B: SC-Sydni Carroll. WP: Sharman. LP: Brumley.