Winters Mill suffered three straight losses to open the softball season, but coach Felicia Knill said the Falcons are using a newfound rhythm to progress through a busy next few weeks.
Their most recent triumph came against Francis Scott Key on Monday, in which the Falcons used a defensive stronghold to defeat the Eagles 4-2.
Game cancellations and postponements because of inclement weather have put a damper on Carroll’s athletes quite a few times this spring, and the Falcons are no stranger. WM defeated South Carroll in a doubleheader on April 9 and suffered losses to Westminster, Century, and Manchester Valley before splitting their regular season series against the Owls with a 9-6 victory on April 17.
“The first couple games we struggled to get into a flow just because you get all hyped up for a game and then it gets cancelled so we finally got into a little bit of a flow over the end of last week and are trying to use that,” Knill said. “We have multiple four-game weeks coming up so it’s going to be a lot.
“It’s going to be fast and I think having the depth that we have is great with as many games as we’re going to have coming up.”
Senior infielder Megan Harman went 2-for-4 and registered two RBIs. Junior pitcher Kassidy Gibson entered the game in the fourth inning and got the win for the Falcons (5-5, 4-3 Carroll County Athletic League).
The Falcons utilized three pitchers against the Eagles — Zoey Deniker, Riley Morano, and Gibson. Harman said the trio is a “powerhouse” and will typically switch off after pitching a few innings with a certain amount of batters.
“I think we did pretty well, starting out, we came out really strong so we had an early lead and were able to stay on top for the rest of the game,” Harman said. “We did struggle for a bit through a couple innings but came back and held them strong in the field so I think our defense and everything leading up to that with defense and plays and being one, as a team, talking to each other, communication, that’s what held us together for the rest of the game.”
The Falcons had just one out when Harman hit an RBI single that sent Lauren Wiley and Lauren Cook in to score, and they led 3-0 at the end of the first inning. Wiley’s single in the second inning brought Liz Chaney in to give the Falcons a 4-0 lead.
FSK (5-6, 3-6) registered just three hits through the first three innings, but Laura Gilford’s lead-off double in the bottom of the fourth gave the Eagles a boost. Jodi Staub hit an RBI single to bring Gilford in, and Hannah Hockensmith’s RBI hit helped Emily Clapsaddle score.
“We had a really difficult time keeping our hands back, that’s why we didn’t score runs. We left 11 runners on base and that hurts a lot,” FSK coach Thom Vickery said. “We’ve been pretty good the last three games or so getting those timely hits when we needed them when we have runners on and driving those runners in when we have runners on, we just didn’t do that today and congratulations to Winters Mill.”
Deniker and Harman, two of Winters Mill’s six seniors, said they’ve enjoyed watching the Falcons grow over time as players enter and leave the program after four years.
“We’re old now,” Harman said, with a laugh.
“It’s amazing, it’s grown so much over the years, and it’s just been building,” Deniker said. “Not just with us but throughout the county, it’s all been growing and it’s amazing because you have other people who are harder to play against and you have to step up.”