The Maryvale softball team hit with power, pitched with finesse and fielded almost flawlessly while defeating St. Paul's School for Girls, Tuesday afternoon, in

The Maryvale softball team hit with power, pitched with finesse and fielded almost flawlessly while defeating St. Paul's School for Girls, Tuesday afternoon, in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference game in Brooklandville.

Junior pitcher Gina Liberto homered and junior shortstop Maggie Welling went 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI for the league-leading Lions (9-2).

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Liberto gave up three earned runs in the first three innings, but shutout the Gators (5-5) the rest of the way by limiting the visitors to three singles.

She struck out three batters.

"We have a couple of other pitchers we work with, but she is our ace," Maryvale coach Terri Moser said. "She has pitched in every game for us this year. As the game went on, she got stronger and was more focused. And she has a strong defense behind her."

The Lions only made one error. It came in the top of the first inning when the Gators pushed across two runs.

MacKenzie Ripley highlighted the inning with a single to left field, which scored Rachel Colbus.

Maryvale countered with two runs in the bottom of the inning on two errors and a bloop single to left field by Brooke Franklin.

St. Paul's added single runs in the second (Emily Issing RBI single) and third innings (Alex Kennedy sacrifice fly) to go ahead 4-2.

Maryvale tied it in the fourth off of pitcher sophomore Sidney Hobbs.

Welling's RBI single started the scoring in the inning and the Lions went ahead on Mya Bushman's run-scoring double.

"The girls were aggressive at the plate in the beginning," St. Paul's coach Diana Allen said. "But we slowed down a little bit and got rattled later in the game."

Liberto got out of a jam in the sixth thanks to her defense after giving up singles to Kennedy and Eden Price. They advanced on a fielder's choice.

Bushman, a third baseman, threw out Kennedy at the plate after a fielding a grounder and caught a line drive off the bat of Kate Wolford.

The inning ended when umpires called Price out for leaving the base too early.

Maryvale scored three more times in the sixth and Liberto keyed it with a home run down the left-field line.

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"They have scored the most runs out all the teams in the conference," Allen said. "They have the big bats and have a good lineup all the way through."

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