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Spalding shuts down Mercy Sheridan fans 11, allows only one hit in 9-0 semifinal win


The pitcher dominated. The hitters produced. The defense was solid.

All in all, a typical game from Archbishop Spalding's softball team.

Senior windmiller Kim Sheridan allowed just one hit and struck out 11, and the Cavaliers gradually distanced themselves from visiting Mercy in a 9-0 victory in the Catholic League Tournament semifinals yesterday at Randazzo Park.

Spalding (15-3) can secure its third straight title with a win over the Institute of Notre Dame Monday afternoon at McDonogh. IND defeated Catholic, 9-5, in yesterday's other semifinal.

The Cavaliers won both games against IND this season, 5-1 and 10-0. They completed a three-game sweep over Mercy (9-9), which they had beaten, 13-0 and 12-1, earlier in the season.

Sheridan, the state's all-time strikeout leader with 769, said overconfidence wasn't a potential problem yesterday. But the weather, which was more conducive to ice fishing than softball, could have been.

"We were getting used to playing in the warm weather, and we were playing pretty well. Then, all of a sudden, it turns cold," she said.

That's OK, Spalding's bats stayed hot.

Mercy pitcher Cathy Wozny got through the first inning unscathed, despite hitting a batter and allowing a Sheridan two-out single. But the Cavaliers scored twice in the second, twice more in the third, once in the fourth and broke the game open with a four-run sixth.

Jen McKeldin and Rachel Synowski led off the second with back-to-back hits. After a fly out and a strikeout, Amy Councilman walked to load the bases, and Kelly Mabe hit a bouncer that skidded past shortstop Stephanie Rohe, scoring two runs.

In the third, Carrie Lycett singled with one out, and McKeldin ripped an RBI triple to right. Synowski followed with a single to right-center, increasing the lead to 4-0.

Sheridan (3-for 4, two RBI) tripled in another run in the fourth, after Mercy finally had a batter reach base in the top half of the inning on the Cavaliers' lone error.

So much for looking past the Sharpshooters.

"We've been taking all of our games one step at a time, thinking that every team is the best team and we have to go out there and beat them," said McKeldin, who threw out a runner trying to steal third.

The Cavaliers sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth inning.

Sheridan singled in one run, Lycett scored two more with a single, and after a fielder's choice grounder loaded the bases, Synowski produced an RBI single to bury Mercy a little deeper.

"We've really been hitting the last week, and hopefully, that will continue for one more game for us," said Spalding coach Jim Nemeth.

McKeldin figured it was only a matter of time before the Spalding bats erupted yesterday.

"Usually, it takes us one time around," she said.

"A few base hits, and then everybody starts getting hits."

Not on the Mercy side.

The only hit off Sheridan came with one out in the sixth when Wozny singled up the middle. She moved to second on a ground out and was stranded when Sheridan fanned lead-off batter Jackie Kisnick for the third time.

Sheridan didn't walk a batter and has issued only six free passes all season.

The Cavaliers reached Wozny for 14 hits and one walk. They left nine runners on base.

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