Despite having the most dominant softball pitcher in school history on the mound nearly every game, Marist learned how to manufacture runs to win games through the course of the season.
That skill became a key element last weekend as Marist won its second straight Class AAAA softball championship. The War Eagles beat Whitewater 1-0 in eight innings to win the title, a day after holding off Northwest Whitfield 1-0 in 11 innings in the semifinals.
Marist had four shutouts in the eight-team, double-elimination championship tournament.
“We made plays when we had to, and the neat thing was it was a different player each game,” Marist coach Mike Trapani said. “Midway through the season we had beaten a few teams 1-0, and we could see it setting up. We spent a lot of time practicing tie-breakers.”
With runners on second and third against Whitewater, Ashlyn Johns hit a ground ball to second base and Cameron Taylor beat the throw to the plate to score from third. A day earlier, Casey Gallup hit a bases-loaded single to score the winning run in the 11th inning.
“It was all about how to get a run in, whether you put the ball in play or not,” Trapani said.
Pitcher Lori Spingola made sure the War Eagles would need only one run. She ended the season with 13 straight shutouts and struck out 75 batters over 35 innings in four state-tournament games.
“When you know you have someone like Spingola on the mound, you don’t want to mess it up,” Trapani said.
Spingola bailed out her teammates in a 1-0 win over Evans in the second round. Spingola threw a perfect game, but Marist could not get a hit, scoring a run on a ground ball fielder’s choice.
Marist’s 29-3 record was the best record percentage-wide in school history.
“Last year was special because it was the first one,” Trapani said. “This time we had the bull’s eye on our back all season, which made it a special accomplishment because we found a way to win against so many quality opponents.”