There was no talk of revenge or redemption by the No. 2 Archbishop Spalding softball team after falling short in its bid for a third straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title last season.
The Cavaliers just focused this season on reclaiming their position atop the league. That mantra helped them go undefeated in the conference, and yesterday, Spalding maintained that momentum with a 5-0 victory over visiting Seton Keough in the IAAM semifinals.
Elaine Nescio pitched another gem by going all seven innings and allowing one hit with four strikeouts. The Cavaliers will play Institute of Notre Dame or Mount de Sales, whose semifinal was postponed because of rain, as they search for their sixth title since 2000.
"It all starts with the seniors," Spalding coach Paul O'Brien said. "They are really intent on having a special season. This clean play, this focus is nothing but the result of senior leadership."
The Cavaliers (16-1) had a wide-ranging list of contributors yesterday. Freshman Emily Weiman got three of Spalding's 10 hits and knocked in two runs. The team also got RBIs from senior Meghan Van Meter, sophomore Jean Sonni and junior Nescio.
Spalding got two runs in the first inning with Van Meter's RBI double and a triple by Weiman. The Cavaliers scored twice more in the third on a double by Weiman and a single by Nescio.
Sonni's sacrifice fly in the sixth rounded out the scoring. Nescio retired the first 14 batters before allowing a two-out double to Michelle Campbell.
"Our defense played incredible today," Nescio said. "Everybody did what they were supposed to do. We hit, we pitched well, we played defense."
The Gators had some bright spots, too. Freshman Megan Hyson came in to pitch in the fourth inning and completed the game with seven strikeouts, allowing one hit.
Seton Keough coach Dave Bowyer, The Sun's 2007 Coach of the Year, was disappointed the way the season ended, but said the Gators (7-8) are in position to contend for the conference title next year, losing only two seniors.
"They were more prepared than we were," Bowyer said. "They hit the ball and we didn't. That was the game."