John Carroll rips No. 6 McDonogh School for first in IAAM A softball; Ritter goes for 3 HRs, 10 RBI (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE!!)
John Carroll School softball team feels it was overlooked in the area preseason polls. The Patriots have more than made their presence felt in the early weeks.
No. 7 John Carroll defeated sixth-ranked McDonogh School, 24-13, in IAAM A Conference contest in chilly Owings Mills Friday afternoon. Freshman leftfielder Abby Ritter hit three homers and drove in 10 runs for the Patriots (5-0 overall) and Meg Sheehan had five hits and scored six runs.
The Bel Air school scored in every inning, raking out 18 hits to claim sole possession of first (3-0) in the IAAM A. Unranked in the preseason, John Carroll has victories over two-time reigning league champ Archbishop Spalding and defending Class 1A state champ Perryville, VSN's top-ranked team at the start of the season, in the first couple of weeks.
John Carroll won five games a year ago.
"These girls have been working hard all offseason. I knew what they could accomplish," said Patriots coach Sherry Hudson. "They've put in the work."
"Some people may be surprised, but I'm not," said Sheehan, a junior shortstop and one of eight returning starters. "I expected big things from this team and they're delivering. I'm really proud of the young players on the team and we've bonded."
One of those newcomers Ritter put together one of the season's most impressive performances Friday. She went 5-for-5, with a pair of three-run shots and two-run homer. Ritter, who singled and doubled, missed the cycle by a triple.
She didn't expect a breakout like that, especially in biting 40-degree temperatures.
"I was kind of waiting for a few grounders because I couldn't feel my hands," said Ritter. "I was waiting for some movement and we saw a little bit, so I waited a little bit and swung."
Jules Donnelly also homered for the Patriots, who received a 3-for-3 showing from Emma Kropkowski. Erica James, Gabby Centi and Shannon Sweeney each had a RBI.
John Carroll has scored 70 runs in its first five decisions.
"We definitely bring the bats and it's because all the hard work we put in practice, all the great bp [batting practice] coach throws," said Sheehan. "It's definitely earned."
John Carroll opened Friday with back-to-back singles from Sheehan and Kropkowski, then Ritter took a 0-2 pitch over the leftfield fence. Two batters later, Donnelly went deep for a two-run shot.
Ritter doubled in two more runs in the second inning as John Carroll led 8-0. McDonogh got four back in the home second before the Patriots scored nine unanswered runs, including Ritter's second homer (in third inning) for a 17-4 advantage.
McDonogh (4-2, 2-1 IAAM A) made it a certifable slugfest, scoring seven runs in the fourth, highlighted by a grand slam from Camille King (seven RBI). Ritter capped her late afternoon with a three-run blast over the centerfield fence.
"There's a lot of good bats in the IAAM so we have to improve with our pitching and stay strong defensively," said Hudson, whose team face last season's IAAM A finalist Mount de Sales Academy and undefeated and fourth-ranked Dulaney on back-to-back days next week. "If you can hit the ball and score runs, we're always happy about that."
No. 7 John Carroll School 24, No. 6 McDonogh School 13
John Carroll 534 512 4 - 24 18 4
McDonogh 040 710 1 - 13 19 6
Kropkowski and James; West, Foss (3), West (6) and Gemmill
2B: John Carroll - Ritter, James; McDonogh - King, West, Jocelyn
HR: John Carroll - Ritter 3, Donnelly; McDonogh - King
Last Updated (Saturday, 08 April 2017 13:53)