South Carroll’s softball mentality this season is akin to a prize fighter. Take the opponents’ first few shots, then counter punch.
The Cavaliers did just that in Tuesday’s Class 2A state semifinal against visiting Sparrows Point. The home team found itself in a first-inning deficit that failed to last for the entire frame. The Cavs sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight times, then opened things up en route to a 15-6 victory.
“I think that we like when we get down, because then we get more dedicated,” said junior Hailey Wolfrey. “We have to come back and we have to hit.”
And hit she did — South Carroll’s third baseman went 5-for-5 with a double, home run, and five RBIs. Wolfrey had two singles in the first inning amid SC’s surge, which saw the Cavaliers (11-1) go from a 2-0 hole to an 8-2 lead against Point pitcher Karen Fritzges.
“That’s the first time we’ve done that all season,” said Cavs coach Kayla Holston. “We jumped out on top, and that’s what I tell them every game. ‘Come out on top and get started early so we don’t have to catch up.’ Two runs is nothing.”
The Pointers also committed two of their four errors in the first inning to fall behind.
Meanwhile, Cavs pitcher Maddie Karns settled in. The sophomore collected 10 strikeouts, and didn’t let a two-run home run from SP’s Jayda Robinson in the fourth inning to faze her.
Karns helped herself with four hits, left fielder Amanda Warehime had three hits, and catcher Ava Wallace added a double. Wolfrey launched a three-run shot in the sixth inning, and finished with three runs scored.
South Carroll lost leadoff hitter Abby Johns to an apparent shoulder injury in the first inning (she left during her second at-bat). Holston went to sophomore Sydney O’Clery, who had two hits and reached base three times.
“They were fired up when I got here today,” Holston said of her players. “They’re ready. They’re competitive and they’re ready to win.”
Molly Shelly had an RBI double and two hits for Sparrows Point (7-4), which was going after a third state final four trip in as many seasons. Abby Fox, Ava Johnson, and Robinson also had two hits apiece. Fox and Mia Caruso had RBI singles in the first inning, and Robinson drove in three runs.
South Carroll is going back to the state semifinals for the first time since 2017, when the Cavaliers made it to the championship game. Wolfrey said being part of this team has been special this spring.
“To come back from missing [the 2020] season and then just winning a bunch of games, it’s really nice,” she said.
Added Holston: “I have a lot of favorite things about these girls, but I can put any of them anywhere in the lineup and they’re going to perform and they’re going to succeed.”
Sparrows Point 210 201 0 — 6 11 4
South Carroll 812 103 x — 15 18 1
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SP-Karen Fritzges and Ava Johnson; SC-Maddie Karns and Ava Wallace. 2B: SP-Molly Shelly, Johnson; SC-Hailey Wolfrey, Karns, Wallace, Amanda Warehime. HR: SP-Jayda Robinson; SC-Wolfrey. WP: Karns. LP: Fritzges.