After feasting on Monocacy Valley Athletic League pitching last week, the Francis Scott Key softball team dived headfirst into a famine yesterday.
Catoctin freshman right-hander Shawna Wilkes yielded only one hit, and the Cougars scratched out seven hits against junior pitcher Meredith Carter en route to a 4-1 league win against the host Eagles in Union Bridge.
The loss dropped Francis Scott Key to .500 (3-3 overall and in the league), and was a dramatic departure from a combined 23-3 difference in wins over North Hagerstown and Williamsport last week.
"We weren't on the ball," said senior right fielder Bryne Maring, whose bunt attempt in the fourth inning contributed to the Eagles' lone run. "We went from slower pitching last week to a faster, more accurate pitcher today. We couldn't get our hitting down."
Wilkes, who didn't allow a walk and averaged about 12 pitches an inning, wasn't overpowering, said Francis Scott Key coach Joe Linthicum.
"But she was good," he said. "She puts the ball around the plate, but we have to be aggressive and hit the ball."
Catoctin, which improved to 5-1 overall and in the league, did half of its damage in the top of the second inning. After Carter, who struck out eight Cougars, walked sophomore left fielder Nicole Sweeney, Wilkes reached first base on a fielding error by sophomore third baseman Sara Stambaugh.
Freshman third baseman Kim Stiles lined a single to load the bases for the Cougars, and when Carter struck out freshman right fielder Jessica Cregger, Sweeney ran home on a wild pitch by Carter.
Then junior second baseman Angie Wantz's single to center drove in Wilkes from third base for the 2-0 lead.
The Eagles cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. Carter's leadoff single to left field was followed by a throwing error by senior catcher Kristen Abbott that allowed Maring to reach first safely.
On the next pitch, to senior first baseman Jenny Amass, Carter and Maring tried to pull off a double steal. Abbott's throw to second was cut off by senior shortstop Kerri West, but her attempt to catch Carter at third base skipped past Stiles, and Carter trotted home.
Catoctin coach Sue Weaver, who watched her squad seal the victory with two more runs in the top of the seventh inning, said she was pleased to see her team rebound from a troubling loss to Smithsburg Thursday.
"I think that was a wakeup call for us," Weaver said. "We were real focused today."