Sonni's single lifts Spalding over Seton Keough

Her quick bat gives Cavaliers 3-2 win in nine innings

April 09, 2010|By By Glenn Graham

In a softball game dominated by two fine pitching performances, it was Archbishop Spalding first baseman Jean Sonni's quick bat that had the final answer to help the No. 3 Cavaliers sneak by No. 5 Seton Keough on Thursday in Severn.

Sonni's sharp single over third base in the bottom of the ninth inning drove home Kelsey Taylor, sending pitcher Emily Weiman and the Cavaliers to a 3-2 win over defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champion Seton Keough.

Sonni, who was hitless against Gators pitcher Robi Zimmerman in her first three plate appearances, knew she was close. The team captain picked a fine time for the breakthrough to help the Cavaliers improve to 7-1 on the season.

"It felt so good. I've been on her, around her the whole game and I knew I was ready. When it was my turn to hit, I just said, 'OK, when she throws me a strike in my zone, I'm going to get on it,' and that's basically what happened," Sonni said. "You can feel the pressure because it does get a little intense [late in close games], but I was making sure I was confident and had fun with it. That's what's important."

Weiman (seven hits, 10 strikeouts) and Zimmerman (five hits, seven strikeouts) didn't budge through seven innings with the game scoreless going into extra innings.

With extra innings played under international rules - placing a runner at second base at the start of each inning - the teams finally managed some offense.

In the top of the eighth, the Gators got a run-scoring single from Bridget O'Malley, who scored on Taylor Kairos' double down the third base line for a 2-0 lead.

But the Cavaliers were not fazed. Weiman hit a sharp one-out single to right to score Lauren Hocking and ended up at third base when the ball got through the outfield for a two-base error. Melanie Gunning followed with a tapper in front of home plate, and Weiman alertly scored the tying run when the throw went to first base.

After Weiman got three straight outs in the Gators' ninth, stranding the runner at second base, Sonni was the first to hit in the bottom of the inning with Taylor on second.

"We had a lot of confidence in the girls that were coming up and I almost called a bunt for Jean, but something told me let her swing. That was huge for her - she came through for us," Spalding coach Kristin Scharek said.

For the young Gators, who beat Spalding in last year's title game, it was the third straight one-run loss against a top-five opponent this week. They lost to No. 4 Chesapeake-AA, 2-1, on Monday and dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 1 Broadneck on Tuesday.

"We're young, starting two freshmen, and we played 23 innings this week and had three bad ones, so that's tough," Seton Keough coach Jackie Bosley said. "We just have to find a way to win right now, but we'll keep working. We're just going to stay behind them, we're going to keep reinforcing to them the positives and we'll be fine." SK 000 000 020 - 271S 000 000 021 - 350 Zimmerman and Kouneski; Weiman and Straitz. 2B: SK-Kairos.

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