Northeast High softball team’s 5-0 win against visiting and fourth-ranked Crofton Friday afternoon in an Anne Arundel County showdown was a classic example of quality over quantity.
The Cardinals outhit the No. 3 Eagles, 6-5, but Northeast’s at-bats proved to be much more productive, especially on the swings of Maddison Burris and Jenna Burroughs, who combined for 4 hits and 4 runs batted in to power the Pasadena school to its eighth win (8-0 in Anne Arundel) in as many starts this spring.
“We had more hits than them (but) we left runners stranded,” said Crofton coach Sarah Bible, whose squad stranded eight runners for the game. “It just didn’t come together at the right times. My kids fought hard. (Northeast) had a couple of key hits, big hits, and sometimes, that’s all you need.
“We didn’t have timely hitting. They’re a very good team. I thought we played about as good of a game as we could, but you can’t leave runners on when you’re playing a team that’s solid like that.”
The Eagles scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the bottom of the first as Caitlyn Cornwell drew a lead-off walk and then stole second and third base before reaching home on a sacrifice fly to left center by Presley McGinty, who earned the shutout victory with a complete-game effort on the mound.
Northeast looked poised to pad that advantage in the same inning, placing two runners in scoring position on a double to right field by Burroughs, but Crofton pitcher Kristen White stopped the threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Cardinals (6-3, 5-2 Anne Arundel) looked to tie or move ahead in the top of the second inning, loading the bases on an infield single and two free passes but a grab by center fielder Cornwell, ranging quickly to the right field gap, ended the threat.
White followed her Houdini act in the first inning with a 1-2-3 second before being touched for a decisive three runs in the third on a run-scoring triple to left field by Burroughs and a two-run home run to left center field by Burris for a 4-0 Eagles lead.
“(Bible) called that pitch on my last at-bat, and I struck out on it, so I knew what was coming this time,” Burris said. “She called the same number over and over again, so I was expecting that again. I would say it was a fastball, middle out. It felt really good off the bat.
“We definitely wanted this game. We definitely played for each. We came out as a team and played as a team.”
Burris struck again with a run-scoring single in the sixth to account for the final run while the Cardinals left a pair of runners on in the top of the seventh as Kayleigh Fyffe recorded the final out on a pop-up to third base.
Leaving those unscored runs on the basepaths was largely the work of McGinty as well as some timely defense, including a 1-6-3 double play in the third. McGinty struck out seven, including the side in the fourth inning, and faced four or fewer batters in four of her seven innings of work.
“I feel like my curve started working a lot better,” said McGinty, whose team knocked off Crofton, 5-3, in the opening week of the regular season. “I think that’s what they couldn’t hit. It feels way more relieving (with an early lead). I don’t have as much pressure on me, and I have my defense to back me up.”
NO. 3 NORTHEAST 5, NO. 4 CROFTON 0
Crofton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 6 1
Northeast 1 0 3 0 0 1 x - 5 5 1
WP - Presley McGinty. LP - Kristen White.
2B: Northeast - Jenna Burroughs.
3B: Northeast - Jenna Burroughs.
HR: Northeast - Maddison Burris.
RBI: Northeast - Maddison Burris 3, Jenna Burroughs, Presley McGinty.