By Nelson Coffin
Things were looking up for Bryn Mawr in the second inning of a B Conference softball quarterfinal against Notre Dame Prep on Tuesday afternoon in Mount Washington.
Two of the fourth-seeded Mawrtians, second baseman Emily Sakai and left-fielder Ariel Wiggins, had crossed the plate after hitting singles.
Sakai scooted home on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Maddie Mirro and Wiggins stole home to give Bryn Mawr what appeared to be a 2-0 lead until NDP coach Emily Solel pointed out that the Mawrtians had batted out of turn.
When the umpires agreed, Sakai and Wiggins were ordered back to third and second base, respectively, and Mirro was sent back to hit before NDP pitcher Alex Anderson escaped the inning unscathed after retiring Mirro on a grounder to third baseman Emily Kraus.
It was a pivotal moment in what turned out to be a 4-2 NDP triumph.
“That killed our momentum,” Bryn Mawr coach James Brown said. “It was just a mistake we made.”
Still, Brown’s squad took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a booming opposite-field home run by senior Sydney Stephenson, a Georgetown University field hockey recruit who pitched for the Mawrtians until moving to shortstop in the fifth inning.
The lead did not last very long, considering that the fifth-seeded Blazers pushed a pair of runs across in the fourth inning on a walk, an error, a wild pitch and a two-run single by senior shortstop Gabbie Christy.
NDP (6-4) added a run in the fifth on singles by catcher Maggie Franz and center fielder Taylor Connell, a walk to first baseman Maddy Sparr and Christy’s RBI grounder.
Bryn Mawr (8-5) scored its final run in the bottom of the inning when Mirro crushed a triple to left and strolled home on a two-out single by catcher Callie Chambers.
With Stephenson coming to the plate, Solel wisely ordered the slugger to be walked intentionally, even though the free pass put the tying run in scoring position.
Anderson then worked out of the jam by retiring Bryn Mawr cleanup hitter Hanna Sawa on a grounder to third.
Left fielder Laura Macek plated an insurance run for the Blazers in the sixth with a single after second baseman Grace Driscoll drew a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on Stephenson’s diving stop at short to nip right fielder Serena Naraval at first.
Anderson, who did not know she was starting in the circle until just before the game, said that the her changeup was her most effective pitch during the contest.
“I play a lot of club (softball), so I’m used to the pressure,” the freshman right-hander said.
Solel said that the decision to start Anderson was made because of back problems plaguing Naraval, who missed just her second start of the season.
The coach said that she was ready to bring Narval in to the game if Anderson faltered, but the rookie more than held her own.
Brown said that his team had the talent to advance to the semifinal round,
“We just weren’t hitting,” he said. “And we made too many errors.”
The Blazers will travel to Marriottsville on Thursday to face top-seeded and unbeaten Chapelgate Christian Academy, which blanked Mercy, 10-0, in its quarterfinal.
The winner of that semifinal battle will meet the survivor of St. Paul’s School for Girls-St. John’s Catholic Prep battle on Saturday at Harford Community College at 2 p.m. for the championship.