SMITHSBURG — North Carroll pitcher Ashlynn Shaffer had the answer for Smithsburg’s vaunted offense in Wednesday’s Maryland Class 1A West Region East Section softball final.
Shaffer pitched a two-hit shutout — getting plenty of help from her defense — and the Leopards made an uncharacteristic four errors in a 2-0 loss that ended Smithsburg’s season.
The Leopards (18-2) — who earned a 4-0 victory over the Panthers (18-5) in the regular-season opener for both teams back in March — scored 182 runs in their first 19 games this season. But they could only manage two singles by Sam Gladhill against Shaffer, who worked inside and out with a hard fastball.
“They played well, didn’t they? (Shaffer) played well,” Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. “We’ve got to hit, score runs and give Cara (Ferguson) more support, but give them credit. Their shortstop made some amazing plays.”
That would be Madison Grimm, who robbed Brooke Parks of a single up the middle in the first inning, backhanded Ferguson’s grounder in the hole and threw her out in the second, and was part of an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play in the fourth.
Ferguson kept North Carroll off the board through four innings, but the Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the fifth.
Lauren Capece reached on a fielding error, then slid into second safely by beating the throw from Ferguson on Alex Stitely’s sacrifice bunt. Capece scored when Micaella Hernandez’s bunt was fielded and thrown wide of first for another error, before Ferguson worked out of a two-on, no-out jam without further damage.
North Carroll added a run in the sixth. Gina Tolomei blooped a single to left, took second on Michaela Stitely’s sac bunt, went to third on Danielle Sealy’s single to center and scored when Capece’s grounder to third was thrown away for the fourth and final Smithsburg error.
“We’ve been solid all year defensively,” Barnhart said. “Sometimes, you just have a (bad) moment, and they’re human.
“It’s hard to be upset about anything when you only had two losses. We will miss our seniors, but we have a solid group coming back.”
Ferguson allowed seven hits and no walks while striking out one. Neither run was earned.
North Carroll 2, Smithsburg 0
No. Carroll 000 011 0 — 2 7 0
Smithsburg 000 000 0 — 0 2 4
Shaffer and Tolomei. Ferguson and Shifflett. WP — Shaffer. LP — Ferguson (18-2).