In her 17 seasons coaching Reservoir softball, Julie Frisvold has learned what makes a team special.
For this year’s group, that special characteristic is commitment and doing whatever it takes to win. Such a team-oriented mentality helped lead the top-ranked Gators to a 12-2, six-inning win Wednesday over No. 11 Wilde Lake in the Class 3A East Region II final, avenging last year’s regional final loss to the second-seeded Wildecats.
Reservoir advances to the 3A state quarterfinals, where the eight region champions will be reseeded based on regular-season record.
The Gators jumped out to an early four-run lead, but Wilde Lake responded in the top of the fourth on Justyce Richard’s two-run home run to deep left field. However, Reservoir didn’t flinch and immediately answered with a sixth-run bottom half to regain momentum.
Abbie and Maggie Frisvold each drove in a pair of runs to help spark the rally. As each new batter came to the plate, Reservoir’s dugout energy reached new heights, passionately supporting their teammates, epitomizing that team-first mindset. Senior Courtney Johnson helped spearhead those dugout chants throughout.
“We talked about it before the game that it was going to take all 14 players on the roster,” Julie said. “The energy in that dugout plays a much bigger role with the success in this team than the routine plays and the big hits because all of those plays feed off that energy.
“When we said all 14 of you are going to be pivotal, that’s where it comes in. Their energy on that bench from the first pitch to the last pitch, they’re losing their voices. But no one cares, we’re going to continue to cheer and that’s what makes everything else happen.”
Maggie Frisvold quickly settled in, retiring the Wildecats in order in the opening two innings. The Gators built an early lead on Abbie Frisvold’s RBI single, taking advantage of an earlier Wilde Lake error. They quickly added onto the lead in the second with Keira Walsh’s sacrifice fly.
As Maggie continued to shut down Wilde Lake’s lineup, Reservoir (20-0) added to its lead. In the third, Maggie and Cambell Sagin launched back-to-back RBI doubles, extending the lead to four. Wilde Lake finally broke through on Richard’s home run but was unable to sustain that momentum. Andaiye Smith started the six-run fourth with a leadoff single, and the onslaught of hits ensued shortly after.
“It’s definitely helpful,” Johnson said of the Gators’ ability to respond. “I think it’s important that we know how strong our bats are and we know that anyone in the lineup at any time has the ability to start a rally. Trusting each other and trusting that we will be able to get those runs back helped a lot.”
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Maggie struck out a pair of Wildecats in the fifth and sixth, completing a 12-strikeout afternoon while allowing just one hit. The Gators once again displayed their depth in the sixth, closing the game with two more runs. Michelle Mason and Smith each drove in a run, completing a 13-hit afternoon.
Shortly after, Reservoir gathered in its routine postgame circle on the left field grass to celebrate. The Gators now turn their attention to the next step in the postseason, most likely against a non-county foe.
“You almost know what to expect when you’re playing Howard County teams, we play them multiple times every year,” Maggie said. “I just like the energy and new atmosphere of playing out-of-county teams.”
For Wilde Lake (14-5), Wednesday’s loss marked the departure of a historic group of seniors. They helped guide the Wildecats to back-to-back double-digit win seasons, including the program’s first regional title last year.
Coach Tee Dronenburg knows how important they are to her program.
“This is the group we waited for,” she said. “We’d heard about them when they were in sixth grade, we waited for them to come and holy goodness were they worth the wait and then some. What we just told them here at the end is this group won’t be forgotten. That 2022 is going to hang on that banner in the gym forever, their names are etched on that record board forever.
“The things they did to change Wilde Lake softball and get the community out here rallying around them is irreplaceable and unforgettable.”