The softball gods watched over Broughton and Sanderson this spring. Without a split, the two inexperienced Cap-8 Conference teams might have been staring at a winless season.
Sanderson managed a 21-4 victory in the rematch Wednesday afternoon at Pullen Park, Broughton’s home field. The Capitals won the first meeting 19-10, and both teams are now 1-15 overall and 1-10 in Cap-8 play.
“It’s a weight off our shoulders to win,” Sanderson sophomore center fielder Ayanna Carte said with a beaming smile. “It makes everything a little better.”
It’s not hard to trace the roots of both teams’ deficiencies. The Spartans and Caps are not only playing without seniors, they both lack the advantage of rosters stocked with experienced travel ball players. And perhaps most crucial of all in a sport dominated by pitchers, they both lost their top pitchers at the start of the season.
Sanderson has been without freshman Nicole Keane, a pitcher and the Spartans’ only travel ball player, with an injury. There are only 12 remaining players – all freshmen and sophomores with exception of junior catcher Nicole Mitchell.
Broughton coach Dorrian Stephens said his players will grit their teeth and get back to work. The Caps, who lost two pitchers before the season to injuries and ineligibility, dressed only nine players against Sanderson. A 10th player has yet to be cleared from a concussion.
“We’re trying to lay a foundation to build off for next year,” Stephens said. “Our practices are more like clinics with drills. But that’s been hard to do with a small roster. Sidney Maybre isn’t a pitcher, but she stepped up and said she would pitch for us. I’m proud of her.”
The Caps’ only travel ball players are sophomore first baseman Parker McLawhorn, who was 1-of-4, and freshman Demi Jones, who was 1-of-4 with a run scored.
Three to know
Ayanna Carter, Sanderson: She ran down four fly balls in center field, including a running one-handed catch on a blooper that looked like it would fall. She scored four runs and knocked in two with a double.
Shannon Toomey, Sanderson: The freshman right fielder was 2-of-6 with four runs scored and an RBI.
Elizabeth Rotchford, Broughton: The sophomore third baseman was 2-of-4 with two RBIs and nice plays in the field.
They said it
“Finally, when people at school ask if we won, I can say, ‘Yes.’ ” – Sanderson sophomore third baseman Anna Beavans, who was 2-of-6 with a run scored and two RBIs.
With Pullen Park’s deep fences, Sanderson freshman Carson Vogelsberg and sophomore Samantha McComas both circled the bases for two-run, inside-the-park home runs.