The Mardela softball team is now the only squad left with an unblemished Bayside South record after knocking off James M. Bennett 6-3 to take sole possession of first place.
Saturday’s game started off as a pitchers duel between Bennett’s Kasey Donalds and Mardela’s Kalie Adkins, as only four players made it on base in the first two frames.
But Mardela (11-2, 10-0 Bayside) came out roaring in the top of the third inning when Mackensie Disbennett, leading off for the Warriors, drove a first-pitch strike down the right-field line for the team’s first hit of the game.
With one out in the third, Sydney Goertzen slapped a ball over the infield, good enough for an RBI and the first score of the game.
Kristina Shank added two more RBIs when she smacked a line drive off the glove of Clippers shortstop Cheyenne Harvill and into the outfield, reaching second on what was ruled an error and giving the Warriors a 3-0 lead.
Miscommunication on the base paths got Mardela into troubling waters when Kasey Goshorn tried advancing to third, which was already occupied by Shank, forcing Goshorn into a pickle. But an errant throw by Bennett allowed both girls to score and gave Mardela a 5-0 lead in the third.
At the start of the fourth inning it looked like Donalds might still be rattled from the previous frame, as she hit the first batter she faced before retiring the next three with ease.
Both teams remained relatively quiet for the next few innings until Disbennett rocked another pitch good enough for a stand-up triple in the sixth. Two batters later, Goertzen dug out an RBI single for a 6-0 lead.
Down six runs in the bottom of the seventh, Bennett hoped for a big rally and looked like they might get their wish.
Leading off the inning, Anna Malone scratched out an infield single and proceeded to steal second on the following pitch. Harvill followed up with an RBI single, ending the shutout.
A clutch pinch hit from Courtney Cullen cut the gap to 6-2 and a two-out single from Brynn Roman pulled the Clippers to within three. But the rally fell short when Emma Chandler grounded out to third to end the game.
“Ultimately we had faith in our team to make a play and get us out of that jam and we did,” Mardela coach Kory Shiles said. “Kalie had been throwing a lot of pitches but she kept battling and toughed it out there and we made enough plays at the end to win the day.”
Adkins finished the day with seven innings pitched and nine strikeouts.
On being the last team with an undefeated Bayside South record, Shiles said there are still things to be worked on a daily basis.
“That’s been our goal from day one. Winning the day, keep working to get better and see where we’re at at the end of the season,” he said.
Up next for the Warriors is an away game at Crisfield on Monday, with first pitch set for 4 p.m. The Clippers will travel to Crisfield on Tuesday.