Concordia Prep’s softball team saved its best for last Tuesday in the IAAM Conference C championship game.
The Saints (10-2 overall) scored six times in the top of the seventh inning to finally put away Bryn Mawr, 18-12, at Bachmann Park in Glen Burnie. It’s the Towson school’s first title since 2013 (B) when it was known as Baltimore Lutheran.
“I am so excited for these girls,” Concordia Prep coach Leslie Calheira said. “For me, it is bittersweet. This is my third year here. We were here two years in a row [before]. Third time’s a charm. Now, I’m over the moon to see what they can accomplish.”
Concordia Prep freshman outfielder Nayla Meyers started the title-clinching rally with a single to left. Meyers then stole second to get into scoring position with sophomore Lily Lorenz at the dish.
Lorenz struck out but the ball eluded the Bryn Mawr catcher and the sophomore took off for first. Lorenz beat out the throw to first and Meyers never stopped running from second and scored to give the Saints a 13-12 lead.
Senior pitcher Cadia Sanders next laced a triple to into the gap to score Lorenz as the Saints started to pull away. Junior Emma McGraw followed with an RBI single for a 3-run lead. A pair of RBI groundouts put Concordia Prep up 17-12.
“We just kept on cheering and coming back,” Sanders said. “We kept cheering and pushing hard. Coming into the playoffs, we knew that we just had to keep pushing.”
Later in the inning, senior catcher Kaitlyn Osbourn picked up a two-out single, stole a base and then advanced to third on a pitch in the dirt. Osbourn rounded out the scoring by dashing home on a wild pitch to make it 18-12.
“The resilience of this team has been [building] for the last six games,” Calheira said. “This is our seventh win in a row. Our whole team got together and [decided] we are not going to give up.”
Before the big rally, the Saints nearly let the game slip away in the bottom of the sixth with the score knotted at 12.
Sanders lost the strike zone and started the inning with three straight walks. The senior hurler buckled down and the Saints escaped the jam without allowing a run.
Senior third baseman Natalie Jarrett cut off the go-ahead run at the plate on a fielder’s choice for the first out. Osbourn followed snagging a pop out near the Bryn Mawr dugout for the second out.
Then Meyers came up with a defensive gem. Bryn Mawr senior catcher Lucia Ayala smashed a sinking liner to center that looked like it was going to plate a couple of runs. A hard-charging Meyers leaned down and made the catch just before the ball fell in to end the inning.
“I just knew that we really needed that,” Meyers said of her big catch. “I acted on instinct, it was really just an in the moment sort of thing.”
The game was a showcase for Meyers. The freshman showed that the future looks bright for Concordia Prep, showin off her power in the fourth inning with a 2-run home run that knotted the game 8-8 as the teams traded runs early.
For Bryn Mawr (7-4), it was a game of missed opportunities. The Mawrtians had a chance to put the game away with a 8-5 lead after three innings and a 12-8 lead after the fourth.
The Saints held Bryn Mawr scoreless over the final three innings as the Mawrtians could not seem to break through with the big hit.
“The other team just outplayed us in the end,” Bryn Mawr coach Mike Leatherwood said. “It was a great game. Both teams deserve to be here. We just fell apart at the end, which happens in sports. I am proud of the team though. To make it to where we are right now from where we were four years ago is an amazing feat on their part. It’s all due to them. They put in the hours and the work. It’s all about those kids.”
IAAM C CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
at Bachmann Park
CONCORDIA PREP 18, BRYN MAWR 12
Concordia 050 322 6 – 18 15 3
Bryn Mawr 242 400 0 – 12 11 4
Concordia Prep– Cadia Sanders. Bryn Mawr – Lillie Miller and Maddy Turnbaugh (7)
2B: Concordia Prep - Kaitlyn Osbourn, Addison Blakenship; Bryn Mawr – Devin Hanson
3B: Concordia Prep – Kaitlyn Osbourn, Cadia Sanders
HR: Concordia Prep – Nayla Meyers