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St. Paul's secures IAAM B Conference softball championship

After coming within inches of making a game-saving catch at second base in last season’s Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference softball championship game, St. Paul’s sophomore pitcher Kathe Hobbs was determined to reverse the outcome on Saturday.

She did just that, pitching a complete game, en route to a 4-1 St. Paul’s victory over St. Vincent Pallotti. In the win, Hobbs gave up four hits, one run (one earned), while walking two and striking out eight.

“My dad and I are a team — he’s also my coach,” Hobbs said. “We just work together to position the ball right. We just kind of put a little spin on the ball. I don’t know — it’s just a lot of effort that we put in behind the scenes too. So, we work a lot outside.”

St. Paul’s got on the board in the bottom of the second inning. After first baseman Ayanna Gould was hit by a pitch, outfielder Anna Hjortsberg drove her in. Outfielder Rachel Katzenberg reached base on an error and Maressa Cuthrell drove in Hjortsberg on a bunt single. Then, Abbi Klein drove home Katzenberg on another single to give St. Paul’s a 3-0 lead.

Pallotti’s only run came on a run scored by Kiara James in the third inning. St. Paul’s tacked on their final run with Cuthrell scoring on an Emily Issing single. Hjortsberg and Klein each led the way for St. Paul’s with two hits.

St. Paul’s coach Vance Hobbs coached both of his daughters – Sidney and Kathe – last season. He had a bit of déjà vu with both of his daughters coming down with an illness before the championship game.

“It’s fun for me because it was her sister on the mound last year,” Vance Hobbs said of Kathe. “So, it was the other redhead – it was Sidney Hobbs on the mound last year – she [Kathe] was playing second base. The ball went just outside of her outreached hands.

“We fought hard that whole year, but again, it’s kind of ironic. Sidney was also sick last year. We get this cold right around now, but she fought through it. We didn’t fight through it last year – Chapelgate [Christian] was a great team. Hey, it’s redemption right? We had a good time.”

St. Paul’s (12-0) came into the bracket as the first seed and had a bye. The Gators beat eighth-seeded Annapolis Area Christian on Tuesday, 10-1. On Thursday, they had a close matchup against fourth-seeded Notre Dame Prep in a 5-4 victory.

The Gators also had several close calls at home, including a 7-6 win over Pallotti in the regular season.

“After that taste in their mouths, we would come out at home and we’d always get behind a little bit, but we never worried. We never faltered and they would come back every time and we’d take care of business,” Vance Hobbs said.

Reach Kyle J. Andrews at kandrews@baltsun.com or follow him on Twitter @KyleJAndrewsSun.

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