Head Coach Paul O’Brien won’t take any credit for the success of his Archbishop Spalding High School, Severn, softball team.
After completing a whirlwind season, with a 17-1 overall record and 14-0 in the IAAM A Conference, O’Brien gave credit where credit was due – to his senior leadership.
Seniors Meghan Van Meter, second baseman, Dulaney Bell, shortstop, and Casey O’Neill, first baseman, were at the forefront of the team’s success and drive toward conference perfection.
“Their leadership has just propelled this team to where it is right now,” said O’Brien, in his second season with the team, just before the start of the championship game with the Institute of Notre Dame, Baltimore, on May 11 at Harford Community College. “They kept us focused. They kept us intense, and they kept us moving in the right direction.”
Archbishop Spalding came away with a 6-0 win over IND, as junior hurler Elaine Nescio held IND to just one hit, while delivering 11 strikeouts on the day.
For IND, who came on strong at the end of the season, it was their second game of the day. They had faced Mount de Sales Academy just four hours earlier in a semifinal 5-2 win over the Catonsville school.
To recap, Archbishop Spalding scored in the bottom of the first inning on a double by Van Meter, who was plated by junior Jennifer Rindone on an RBI single.
Archbishop Spalding scored three runs in the third and two more in the fifth inning, to cap off the perfect conference season with six runs on eight hits and one IND error.
Nescio was brilliant from the mound, baffling IND and staying ahead in the count.
“I see Elaine as one of the elite pitchers in the area,” said O’Brien. “She’s dominating, fiercely competitive and has an incredible love for the game.”
In IAAM B Conference action, Notre Dame Preparatory School, Towson, placed runner-up to the McDonogh School in a 5-3 loss. NDP came in as a third seed in the post-season tournament with a 10-4 record and defeated St. Mary’s High School, Annapolis, 5-2 in the quarterfinal game. In semifinal action, NDP upended Maryvale Preparatory School, Brooklandville, the three-time defending champions, 7-3.
And in the IAAM C Conference championships, Towson Catholic High School defended their title honors by defeating St. Paul’s School for Girls 1-0 on a bottom of the sixth-inning triple, ripped to left center field by junior Rebecca Alban, who then scored on a throwing error. Towson Catholic’s top pitcher, sophomore Jessica Butler, was again dominating in her effort, keeping the Gators off balance. Butler threw a one-hitter and struck out 15 to lead Towson Catholic to another title. Offensively, Butler nailed two doubles on the day.