With a three-run fourth inning in the midst of another pitching gem from senior Carly Martin, Seton Keough continued to boldly state its case as the area's top-ranked softball team yesterday, coming away with a sturdy 3-0 win over No. 2 Archbishop Spalding.
In a rematch of last year's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship game, the host Gators displayed timely hitting and an ability to get the tough outs to beat the two-time league champion Cavaliers for a second time this spring.
The win completed an impressive week for the Gators, who knocked off No. 3 Institute of Notre Dame, 4-1, on Wednesday to further separate themselves from a stocked IAAM A Conference. Seton Keough, behind a five-hit, 11-strikeout effort from Martin, improves to 9-1 and 6-0 in league play. The Cavaliers (10-3) fall to 6-2 in the league.
Just like in Wednesday's win against the Indians, senior third baseman Meghan Kovacs got the offense moving in yesterday's pivotal fourth inning with a one-out triple. Catcher Michelle Campbell executed a safety squeeze that went for a run-scoring single. Kerri O'Malley drove her in with a triple to the gap in right-center and then came across on a wild pitch for the 3-0 lead.
"Today, we were fortunate that we had a couple of good hits bunched together, and you have to be able to do that against a team like Spalding," Seton Keough coach Dave Bowyer said. "And against a quality team like Spalding, or IND or really any team in our conference, once you get something going, you've go to keep it going because you know they're going to respond."
The Cavaliers looked to answer in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third and no outs, but Martin worked her way out of the jam with the help of two strikeouts, getting Casey O'Neill to chase a high-rise curve to end the inning.
"It's so nice to have the run support there," Martin said. "I just kept in the back of my mind that we had three runs - I held them down pretty good the whole game and there's not much damage they can do if our defense just stayed strong. ... So I just kind of relaxed and pitched the same way."
Spalding senior Stephanie Weigman allowed five hits, striking out 10 batters and also starting the fifth inning with a double to deep center field.