Olivia Reardon, the 2021 Carroll County Times Softball Player of the Year, knew very early in her athletic career that she wanted to play softball in college.
“It’s been in my mind since I started playing when I was nine,” said Reardon, who graduated from South Carroll this spring and will play next year at Division II University of Mount Olive in North Carolina.
Her final highly successful act as shortstop for the Cavaliers was leading them to a Carroll County championship, Class 2A West Region I title and victory over Sparrows Point, 15-6, in the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
The 11-2 season ended with a 7-1 loss to Queen Anne’s in the state semifinals, but first-year coach Kayla Holston couldn’t have been prouder of her whole team.
“After missing out on their entire junior season last year because of COVID, all the girls, including Liv, didn’t miss a beat,” Holston said. “They came in and they were ready to go and they were determined to get some kind of hardware and that’s exactly what they did and Liv was a big part of it.”
Reardon, in her fourth varsity season, batted third in the lineup and hit .522 with 20 runs scored, two home runs and seven RBIs.
She made Holston’s first career coaching victory a memorable day when she had four hits in a 4-3 triumph over Francis Scott Key.
The second win of the season over Francis Scott Key clinched the county title and Reardon had four hits in that game.
But individual accomplishments didn’t drive the humble Reardon.
“The game that stood out was when we won regionals because we didn’t expect that at all,” Reardon said.
In that game, the Cavaliers rallied from a 3-0 deficit for a 6-5 win over Glenelg.
“We had no idea how good we were,” said Reardon, on her thoughts before the season. “I think it was probably the chemistry and we had pitching this year.”
Reardon was a big part of melding that close-knit unit.
“Out of the four captains I had this year, she was definitely the one that I feel like I pulled aside the most,” Holston said. “If I had to talk to her about something or I needed to ask her a question, I know she would be honest with me and she handled everything too.”
Holston breathed a sigh of relief when the ball was hit to Reardon and she closed out two wins with game-ending catches, including a diving grab.
“Most of our games were pretty close, so having her on our defensive side was definitely a huge savior,” Holston said. “She ran the infield, everyone knew that. If Liv called the ball you better get out of her way because she is going to go for it.”
Holston couldn’t pinpoint one particular highlight game for Reardon because she often produced quality moments.
“I can’t say there was just one memorable game or a memorable moment, she had a lot this year,” Holston said. “Her senior year being as successful as we were was exactly what she wanted.”
Even playing the postseason after graduation didn’t hurt the chemistry for the four seniors.
“We had a lot of our seniors go to senior week, but they all were really committed and they came back for everything they needed to be there for,” said Reardon, who didn’t go to senior week at the beach.
Reardon also played varsity basketball in her freshman, sophomore and senior years, but softball is her first love.
“That’s her number one,” Holston said. “She’s a great kid, great athlete, humble and just has a great attitude.”
Reardon, who is playing club ball for Wagner’s 18U National Team this summer, is looking forward to her collegiate future at Mount Olive.
“I like the small campus and community,” she said. “It’s like a really close-knit community and the people there are all really nice.”
FIRST TEAM ALL-COUNTY
Maddie Karns, South Carroll, sophomore
Laura Tipton, Westminster, senior
Hannah Zabik, Century, junior
Kayla Sholter, Manchester Valley, junior
Emma Taff, Francis Scott Key, freshman
Erika Bitzel, Manchester Valley, senior
Makenna Deane, Manchester Valley, sophomore
Daylah Huff, Century, junior
Abby John, South Carroll, senior
Olivia Reardon, South Carroll, senior
Lexi Smith, Westminster, senior
Laura Gilford, Francis Scott Key, senior
Sam Rice, South Carroll, sophomore
Riley Schulze, Century, junior
Nicole Thomas, Francis Scott Key, junior
SECOND TEAM ALL-COUNTY
Century: Kay Magill, Emma Zuckerman. FSK: Shelby Bay, Brianna Dehoff. Liberty: Maggie Heffler. Man Valley: Jazmyn Gouge, Maddie Loudermilk. South Carroll: Ava Wallace, Hailey Wolfrey. Westminster: Cam Cropper, Gracie Gscheidle, Karissa Miranda. Winters Mill: Lauren Cook, Cassidy Knill.
1. South Carroll (8-1 county, 11-2 overall); T2. Century (6-3, 7-4); T2. Westminster (6-3, 6-4); 4. Francis Scott Key (5-5, 6-6); 5. Liberty (4-5, 4-6); 6. Manchester Valley (4-6, 6-7); 7. Winters Mill (0-10, 0-11).
Carroll County Daily Headlines
Batting Average: 1. Lexi Smith, W — .750 (27-36); 2. Laura Gilford, FSK — .579 (22-38); 3. Olivia Reardon, SC — .522 (24-46); 4. Nicole Thomas, FSK — .486; 5. Brianna Dehoff, FSK — .483 (15-31); 6. Makenna Deane, MV — .475 (19-40); 7. Daylah Huff, C — .471 (16-34); 8. Kayla Sholter, MV — .447 (17-38); 9. Erika Bitzel, MV — .444 (12-27); 10. Emma Zuckermann, C — .438 (14-32).
RBI: 1. Maddie Karns, SC — 19; 1. Laura Tipton, W — 19; 3. Makenna Deane, MV — 14; 4. Daylah Huff, C — 13; 5. Erika Bitzel, MV — 12.
Doubles: 1. Daylah Huff, C — 7; 2. Laura Gilford, FSK — 5; 2. Lexi Smith, W — 5; 4. Brianna Dehoff, FSK — 4; 4. Makenna Deane, MV — 4.
Triples: 1. Laura Gilford, FSK — 2; 1. Emma Taff, FSK — 2; 1. Kayla Sholter, MV — 2; 1. Lexi Smith, W — 2.
Home runs: 1. Laura Tipton, W — 3; 2. Eight players tied with two (Cam Cropper, W; Makenna Deane, MV; Laura Gilford, FSK; Gracie Gscheidle, W; Maddie Karns, SC; Olivia Reardon, SC; Hailey Wolfrey, SC; Emma Zuckerman, C)
Pitching strikeouts: 1. Maddie Karns, SC — 78; 2. Hannah Zabik, C — 58; 3. Laura Tipton, W — 43; 4. Riley Schulze, C — 27; 5. Emily Kerrick, FSK — 25.
Pitching ERA: 1. Maddie Karns, SC — 1.67 (16 earned runs in 67 innings); 2. Laura Tipton, W — 2.17 (13 earned runs in 42 innings); 3. Hannah Zabik, C — 2.57 (32 earned runs in 87 innings)