When Seton Keough pitcher Carly Martin was noting the key elements to winning eight straight and climbing to the No. 1 ranking, she stressed team unity, defense and how the batting has come around.
After a reminder, she added her own right arm.
Martin threw a three-hitter, striking out 14 batters in a 4-1 win over No. 3 Institute of Notre Dame yesterday at Patterson Park.
The Gators improved to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference. The Indians (12-3) fell to 4-3 in league play.
"We're a close-knit team, believe in sticking together and taking it one game at a time. Everybody has stepped up," said Martin, an All-Metro selection last spring after leading the Gators to the league championship game.
Locked up in a 0-0 tie with Indians senior Colleen Matthes also pitching well, the Gators broke through in the top of the fourth with a triple to deep left from senior third baseman Meghan Kovacs and some good fortune. Kovacs would be awarded home after IND catcher Amanda Ward chased after a passed ball and was ruled out of play when she grabbed it.
The Gators took a 2-0 lead in the inning with Michelle Campbell singling up the middle and coming in on a single from Carly Read.
The Indians got one run back when Matthes hit a home run to deep center, but the Gators put the game away with two more runs in the seventh inning.
Read, batting ninth in the Gators' lineup, finished with two singles, one RBI and one run scored with leadoff batter Kathy McLaughlin reaching base three times (two singles, one walk) and scoring a run.
Seton Keough coach Dave Bowyer reiterated Martin's point, noting the Gators have five seniors and 10 returning players from last year's team. The defense, which played flawless yesterday, has made only two errors this season.
"The kids are having fun. We have five seniors and I really have put it on them and they've put it on themselves," Bowyer said.