Before Tuesday’s quarterfinal, Caravel’s softball team told head coach Randy Johnson they wanted to open the game by scoring four runs against No. 9-seeded St. Georges. Johnson told the girls if they were able to do so then they’d be sure to win.
The Buccaneers scored half of its goal in the bottom half of the first, but that’s all they needed to pick up the 9-1 victory in the DIAA Softball State Tournament.
Top-seeded Caravel (18-2) will play fourth-seeded Polytech in a semifinal on Friday at a site and time to be determined. The two teams battled two years ago in the quarterfinals, in which Caravel won 4-1 and eventually became the state champ that year.
Caravel’s Jenna Vasquez and Emily Neal scored first following a Carolyn Szymanski single up the middle. St. Georges put pressure on the Bucs in the next inning, when Alexis Baughman drove a single to center and Szymanski walked two. With the bases loaded, Szymanski pitched her way out of the jam to end the inning with a strikeout.
“I think when you go out there, it just takes a while to figure out how you feel and how you’re throwing,” said Szymanski, who finished with 11 strikeouts and five walks. “I think I just settled in and things worked out.”
Caravel’s ace pitcher extended the lead to 7-0 with a two-run home run over the fence in center field. Szymanski went 3 for 4 with four RBIs.
The Hawks were scoreless until the sixth inning. Haley Powers led off with a bunt single. The next batter, Sarah Coyne, reached base on a throwing error from Caravel’s third baseman. With runners on second and third, Emilee Thursby hit a grounder and Powers scored St. Georges’ only run.
Caravel added its last run in the bottom half of the inning, when Szymanski drilled another single up the middle followed by Brittany Ford’s second RBI double of the game.
“It felt good,” Ford said. “I missed my pitch the at-bat before, so I was just angry getting up there and wanted to hit it.”
Caravel’s Vasquez, Neal, Ford and Samantha Esper all had two hits each.
This was the first time St. Georges (18-2) advanced to the quarterfinals, and the Hawks finished the season with their best record in program history.
“Our girls hung in there playing against the best team in the state,” said coach Roger Seedorf. “We made some errors, and we kept fighting and never gave up. That’s our motto.”