Winning becomes much easier when you hold the opposing team scoreless, and that’s exactly what the Bishop Carroll softball team did to Maize South, twice.
The Golden Eagles swept the Mavericks 8-0 and 12-0 to remain undefeated with 10 wins this season.
A pair of shutdown performances from Pitchers Jessica Haffner and Brittany Finney led the way for Carroll with a great assists from their defense and catcher Lauren Buchanan.
Bishop Carroll found themselves up 5-0 in the first game of the doubleheader after a four-run second inning. In the bottom of the third Maize South was challenging with runners on second and third base with only one out.
But a clutch strikeout by Haffner garnered the momentum back in the Golden Eagles’ favor.
“A strikeout is really a bonus for me,” Haffner said. “I’m looking for outs any way I can get them, and a strikeout was a plus. And once you get that strikeout you have the momentum on your side, and [Lauren Buchanan] knows once you have momentum on your side things are going to go in your favor. So she decided to do a pickoff.”
With two runners still on second and third the pickoff was successful at second base. Buchanan had seen a Maize South baserunner creep too far off the bag and challenged Buchanan’s arm, a mistake the Mavericks would make one more time.
Maize put two more runners on base in the seventh inning, trying to challenge what was now an 8-0 lead for Carroll.
But once again Buchanan used her powerful arm to pickoff another Maize South baserunner, ending the Mavericks’ hopes for a late comeback.
“It doesn’t matter how many outs we have [Lauren Buchanan’s] going to pick somebody off,” Haffner said. “She’s caught for me for four years, she knows what to throw.”
The second game was all Carroll began with a bang, a huge statement from Morgan Balderas, who blasted a first at bat homerun.
Balderas isn’t a stranger to early statements as head coach Steve Hashberger explains.
“Morgan is great having in the number two spot because she impacts the game right away,” Harshberger said. “Four games this year she’s hit a homerun in their first at bat. And that’s either put us ahead or gotten us back in the game.”
From there Carroll continued to pile on with a nine run third inning. Then a two RBI single from Haffner earned Carroll the run-rule victory over the Mavericks.
Brittany Finney pitched the second-game shutout and got the win.
“Brittany goes after you,” Harshberger said. “She doesn’t like to get behind in the count, so she’s going to come at you with hard stuff.”
Maize South always plays Carroll tough, the last two seasons the Mavericks won at least one game against Carroll, but not this season.
“They set themselves as our rival when they competed well against us,” Buchanan said.
And it’s that type of competition that’s expected between these two teams.
“Our uniforms didn’t beat [Maize South],” Harshberger said. “They were here to beat us.”