None of South Carroll's players were alive when the program last won a softball county championship.
So one might forgive the Cavaliers, a few minutes after securing a 5-3 victory Wednesday afternoon over Francis Scott Key, for wanting to pose for a few team photographs.
Just one way to "renew history," said junior pitcher Chloe Sharman, who struck out nine in five innings of relief.
The title is believed to be South Carroll's first in 35 years, and it came thanks in part to Sharman's effort and some timely hitting. Those things allowed the Cavaliers (12-4, 9-3 county) to overcome a few mistakes and hold off a rallying Key squad looking for its second win of the year.
"It makes us feel honored," Sharman said, "and it makes us want to work even harder."
Winters Mill can share the county crown with SC if the Falcons (11-5, 8-3) beat Manchester Valley on Thursday. WM split its regular-season series with the Cavs this spring, which would take away the head-to-head tiebreakcr.
SC 's Madison Hoffman came on as a pinch-hitter with two on and two outs in the seventh inning, and the junior delivered with a two-run single to right that put the Cavaliers ahead 5-1. South Carroll was three outs away from going home with a piece of the county crown, but Key (1-12, 1-11) wasn't quite finished.
Jodi Staub and Berna Blocher collected infield hits before Kayla Green and Gabby Archie each had RBI singles that trimmed the deficit to 5-3. Kayla Clingan represented the winning run at the plate with two outs, but Sharman got her to pop out to shortstop Sydni Carroll to end the game.
Archie had two hits and reached base three times for the Eagles, and Clingan got on base three times as well. FSK just fell a little short, said coach Thom Vickery.
"They're a bunch of hard-fighting, blue-collar kids," Vickery said. "And I tell the kids all the time, the talent level doesn't stop at Route 31. We have some talented players here, we really do. I would never make excuses for what's going on this year. I take full responsibility for what's happened ... this is my fault."
Vickery prasied his seniors — Blocher, Clingan, Green, and Maya Parmele — for their leadership, Blocher in particular. It was her idea to lay down a bunt in the seventh, Vickery said, to try and extend the inning, which she did. Blocher also shined at third base, while sophomore Kaesey Greene sparkled in center and made a diving catch in the sixth that robbed SC's Morgan Adler of a hit.
"I'm proud of these kids," Vickery said.
Meanwhile, Cavs coach Matt Cannistracti expressed pride for his players too. Sydni Carroll had three hits and two stolen bases while Marlee Carroll doubled and scored twice. Sam Amateau had two hits for South Carroll, which won its fourth in a row and put together its usual stingy defensive performance.
The Cavs have allowed 30 runs this spring, an average of less than two per game (1.875). It's a combination of solid gloves and steady pitching from Sharman, who came on in the third for starter Anna Lomax and struck out the side in the fourth. Sharman had two strikeouts in the fifth and sixth, and one to start the seventh before Francis Scott Key attempted its comeback.
"When we started out at the beginning of the year, our goal was just to be competitive in every ballgame," Cannistraci said. "We re-focused, we came up with a game plan at the plate that we've carried through the whole entire way ... it's working, it's helping us."