The Archbishop Spalding softball team has not faced much adversity over the course of the 2022 season, but when it does, the Cavaliers respond in thunderous ways.
After allowing a first-inning run in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinals against Mount de Sales on Thursday, Spalding pounded out 15 hits and scored three touchdowns in a 21-1, five-inning victory over the Sailors.
The Cavaliers are aiming for a three-peat and their fifth title over the past seven seasons the championship game has been contested. They face John Carroll at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bachman Sports Complex in the IAAM A Conference championship game.
Mount de Sales bounded out to a 1-0 after two hitters had entered the batter’s box thanks to a leadoff walk to Olivia Ross, followed by a wild pitch, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly from Katherine Wright. Another walk had the Cavaliers nervous, only to watch pitcher Amaya Carroll revert back to, well, Amaya Carroll.
The Spalding ace sat down the next seven Sailors she faced and 14 of the final 16, allowing just a double to Wright in the third inning and a walk in the fourth. The senior struck out seven.
“I didn’t have the catcher I normally do and also I had just taken an AP exam, so my mind wasn’t really in the right place to begin with,” Carroll admitted. “But when I got into the groove, it was fine. I just relied on my defense because I knew they were behind me.”
The Cavaliers offense was the deciding factor with 11 of 13 players collecting a hit. Carroll aided her own cause by delivering three base hits and three RBIs, while Alex Bailey also plated three runs with two doubles and a single.
“I know I was down in the order a bit today, so I knew that if someone got out or we had a good roll in the lineup, I just tried to pick girls up or keep it going,” said Bailey. “We knew that after the first inning, this was a big game. We know that when one play happens and its not in our favor, we just need to pick each other up. I know that our team has a good team bond so when we’re back in the dugout, it’s easy to go off each other’s energy and stay positive.”
Jayda Betts started the hit parade for Spalding with a leadoff triple and scored when Ashlyn Bishop reached on an error. Bishop came around to score on a ground out by Alyssa Derr to give the Cavaliers all the runs they needed, but the offensive day was far from complete.
The Cavaliers pushed three more runs across the plate in the second, then saw each member in the batting order score in the third as 14 Spalding hitters came to the plate. The fourth was nearly the same as the Cavaliers put up seven runs, sending another 14 players to the plate.
“Every player on this team really works hard. We try to switch things up whenever we can because every single one of them works their butt off in practice every day,” Spalding coach Delaney Bell said. “They all deserve it. If we could bat more than nine, we would, every game.”
Derr had a hit and three RBIs, Cessi Prince contributed a two-run single, Emma Scarfe had a hit in three trips to the plate, knocking in a pair and Dani Kallas added a hit and two RBIs for Spalding.
To win its third straight title, Spalding faces a Patriots squad it defeated, 2-0, on March 29 and 10-0 just a week ago in the regular-season finale. John Carroll squeaked by McDonogh, 4-3, to earn the right to face the Cavaliers.
After suffering three losses in a span of five days in mid-April, including a 12-8 setback to Arundel, followed by a 4-2 loss to Chesapeake, the Cavaliers (16-3) have reeled off five straight wins to achieve its right to play in another championship tilt.
“We had a lot of pressure on us at the beginning of the season. I think the girls felt it. I think we needed to lose, although I did not want to lose,” Bell said. “It was a reminder of what it feels like and they don’t want to feel like that again. We’re very realistic with them. We definitely help hype them up but also keep them very grounded.”