The 2023 high school softball season was about redemption for several teams this spring. Despite graduating one of its best all-time performers in Amaya Carroll (UMBC), Archbishop Spalding was able to continue its championship reign in the IAAM A Conference. Without Madison Knight (Syracuse) Patterson Mill remained among the area’s elite and advanced again to the Class 1A semifinals.
After a surprising early exit for the 2022 postseason, Reservoir rebounded this spring to advance to the Class 3A state championship game and held the No. 1 spot in the Baltimore Banner/Varsity Sports Network’s ranking for several weeks.
A big reason was the impressive two-way efforts of Maggie Frisvold. The senior is Player of the Year.
After losing in the Class 2A state final in 2022, Rising Sun was a team on a mission this spring. The Tigers won the championship behind the 1-2 punch of Cadence Williams and Faith McCullough on the mound. The senior teammates are co-Pitchers of the Year.
Paul Taylor kept Rising Sun focused after dropping its regular season opener. The Tigers won their first title since 2003 and finished No. 1 in the final Baltimore Banner/VSN rankings. Taylor is Coach of the Year.
Here are the stories of all four award winners.
After a disappointing end in 2022, Frisvold led the Howard County school to an impressive rebound this spring. The senior is the Baltimore Banner/Varsity Sports Network Softball Player of the Year.
Frisvold was dominant at the plate and the mound for the No. 2 Gators (21-1 overall), who reached the Class 3A state final for the second time in three seasons. The Fulton school claimed its third straight Howard County championship.
Frisvold batted a school record .639 (55-for-86) with 3 home runs, 47 RBI and scored 42 runs. She also established the school-record in career batting average (.567) and triples (15 tied for first).
The Gators’ bid for a first state title and undefeated season was spoiled by Montgomery County’s Damascus in a 2-0 decision at the University of Maryland last month. Frisvold accounted for one of the Gators’ two hits, giving her 110 in her three-year varsity career.
On the mound, Frisvold went 16-1 with 170 strikeouts and a 0.60 earned-run average. She allowed 36 hits and walked 24 over 90 innings.
Frisvold, whose worst effort came in last spring’s 3A East Region 2 final (allowed 11 hits in 7-5 loss to Wilde Lake), set school marks in career strikeouts (371) and ERA (0.69). She finished 31-2 as a pitcher.
Frisvold, who played for her mother Julie and alongside younger sister Abbie at Reservoir, relished the journey.
“Playing every game, giving it your all and just working with your teammates,” said Maggie Frisvold, one of two starting seniors this spring.
In three varsity seasons, Maggie Frisvold, who holds the program’s single-season mark for strikeouts (174 last spring) helped Reservoir to a 53-3 mark (48-0 in regular season). She will play for UMBC next spring.
Williams and McCullough helped Rising Sun finally end its championship drought this spring. The seniors are the Baltimore Banner/Varsity Sports Network’s co-Pitchers of the Year.
The No. 1 Tigers (22-1 overall) won their first state title since 2003 with a 1-0 victory over Calvert County’s Calvert in the Class 2A final at the University of Maryland last month. Calvert defeated Rising Sun in the 2022 2A final.
“It feels better this way than if we came here last year and won, came back and won again,” said McCullough. “It feels better because there was a chip on our shoulder, we all wanted it even more.”
McCullough posted a 10-0 record with an 0.61 ERA and 110 strikeouts for the Cecil County squad. She allowed 26 hits and walked 27 in 71 innings.
McCullough allowed one run in four postseason starts, striking out 18 over 15 innings. In the state championship game, she pitched three perfect innings with four strikeouts.
Williams followed with five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and struck out four to complete the season 6-0. She struck out 134 batters and allowed 22 hits over 72 innings during the spring.
Williams, who pitched a complete-game three-hitter in the Rising Sun’s first postseason game (vs. North East), allowed a run on seven hits and struck out 26 over 19 innings in the playoffs.
She was the losing pitcher in last year’s championship game against Calvert.
“It’s so nice to have an outcome that we liked in our last game together before we go,” said Williams, who finished the season with 0.45 ERA.
The Williams/McCullough combination finished 16-0 this season for Rising Sun, whose only setback came against Delaware’s Laurel in the season opener. McCullough went 6-0 last spring and Williams (5-3) struck out 97 batters in 56 innings, including a 20-strikeout effort.
Rising Sun coach Paul Taylor said McCullough and Williams readily accepted their pitching roles this spring.
“They know the rotation, they know to stay fresh,” said Wilson. “Cadence is good to come in, Faith likes to start. It just works.”
The award-winning duet by Williams and McCullough continues an impressive run by the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference. Last year, Patterson Mill’s Madison Knight, who was an ACC All-Freshman selection this spring at Syracuse University, was VSN’s Pitcher of the Year last year.
Bohemia Manor’s Madison Penta claimed three straight VSN top pitching honors (2017 to 2019). Penta, who won 27 games this spring as a junior at Auburn, likely would’ve won a fourth, but the 2020 spring season was canceled due to COVID-19.
Williams will join Penta in the Southeast as she will compete for South Alabama next spring. McCullough will stay in Maryland and play for Towson University.
A year after heartbreak, Wilson guided Rising Sun to a historic run this spring. Wilson is The Baltimore Banner/Varsity Sports Network Softball Coach of the Year.
The Tigers won their first state championship since 2003, dethroning Calvert County’s Calvert in the Class 2A title match at the University of Maryland. The Cecil County school finished No. 1 in the final Banner/VSN Top 15.
Last year, Rising Sun lost in 8 innings to Calvert.
With seven starters back among 12 returning letter winners,, it was championship or bust for the Tigers this spring.
“We got the talent,” said Taylor. “We had to execute.”
After ending last season with a 5-4 loss in the state final, Rising Sun started 2023 with a 3-0 loss to Delaware’s Laurel.
“We didn’t want to lose again, that was kind of a driving force,” said Taylor. “Ever since our first loss at the beginning of the year, something happened and they did not like that bus ride home, but the best thing to happen on that bus ride was they were singing and dancing and unifying with each other.”
The Tigers were all business, winning their final 22 games, including a decision over eventual Delaware state champ Caravel. Rising Sun ended Patterson Mill’s 43-game regular season streak and dethroned the 1A state semifinalist Huskies as UCBAC Chesapeake champions.
Rising Sun trailed twice all spring. Down 4-2 to Bel Air, the Tigers scored three runs in the top of the seventh for a 5-4 victory. They trailed 1-0 to Patterson Mill in the second inning before scratching out a 2-1 decision.
Taylor managed a senior-laden pitching staff with Kelsey Barks (Millersville University; 6-1 this spring), Faith McCullough and Cadence Williams. Williams (South Alabama recruit) and McCullough (Towson) allowed two runs in five postseason games, capped with a 1-0 victory over Calvert in eight innings for Rising Sun’s first state title since winning the 1A crown in 2003.
“We’ve been on a mission from day one,” said Taylor. “We lost that first game and it drove us for the rest of the year.”
Taylor is 55-5 in four seasons with Rising Sun.