South Carroll sent eight batters to the plate during the seventh inning of Thursday’s game against Francis Scott Key, something that barely sent a shock wave through the Cavaliers’ dugout.
The Cavs were putting together one final surge en route to their 7-4 win, a win that secured the program’s first Carroll County championship in four years. The late offense wasn’t anything new to senior shortstop Olivia Reardon.
“We like to make their hearts go up,” Reardon said standing alongside and referring to coach Kayla Holston and assistant Charlie Fazenbaker.
Reardon sparked South Carroll (7-1) with four hits, and led off the seventh with her second double before scoring the go-ahead run on a single by pitcher Maddie Karns. Pinch-runner Sydney O’Clery later scored on a fielder’s choice, and Ava Wallace added a sacrifice fly for a few insurance runs.
Karns got through the Eagles (5-4) in the seventh, and struck out Shelby Bay for the final out. Holston, in her first year as SC’s coach, leapt off her seat behind the dugout fence and met her players along the first-base line.
But the celebration was muted. The Cavaliers needed word from Eldersburg, where Liberty knocked off second-place Century and handed the Knights their third county loss, before realizing they had won a county title for the first time since 2017.
South Carroll has one game remaining in the regular season, and the rest of the county teams have three or more losses.
“These girls know, they know what to do,” Holston said. “They come out every game and what I think I like most about them is that they don’t let one mistake get them down. They see it, they learn from it, they come back and battle back. They know when the pressure’s on it’s time to come out on top.”
Karns delivered an RBI double to help South Carroll grab a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Francis Scott Key drew even in the second when Caitlyn Miller laced an RBI double into left-center.
The Cavaliers went up 4-2 in the fourth only to have Key come back with a pair of two-out runs in the fifth. Bay smacked an RBI triple to right, and Miller followed with a single up the middle.
The Eagles couldn’t put together a third rally, however, despite doubles from Laura Gilford and Nicole Thomas. Bay, Miller and Thomas had two hits apiece for FSK.
Reardon added two runs scored for South Carroll, while Sam Rice doubled and Amanda Wareime had two hits. Karns struck out six batters in the victory.
Holston said she told her players before the seventh she really didn’t feel like playing extra innings. Reardon heard her coach loud and clear.
“In the dugout we were kind of just like, you know, we’ve been here before,” Reardon said. “We know how to handle these situations. We’re pretty good under pressure.”
South Carroll 200 200 3 — 7 11 1
Francis Scott Key 110 020 0 — 4 11 2
SC-Maddie Karns and Haily Medrano, Ava Wallace (5); FSK-Emily Kerrick, Shelby Bay (5) and Emma Taff. 2B: SC-Olivia Reardon 2, Sam Rice; FSK-Laura Gilford, Nicole Thomas, Caitlyn Miller. 3B: FSK-Bay. WP: Karns. LP: Bay.