St. Mary's Ryken softball set for WCAC title run
Published by The Enterprise on March 20, 2019
By Ted Black
With several wins already under their belt this season, including a dominant victory at Holy Cross in Montgomery County on March 13, the St. Mary’s Ryken High School softball team is poised to make another push for a possible Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title at that same venue in two months.
The Knights made quick work of Holy Cross, scoring at least three runs in every inning en route to a 20-1, five-inning victory.
Knights senior pitcher Cassie Aud made her season debut in relief, allowing one run on two hits while fanning six batters in four innings to get the win and helped her own cause at the plate by going 3 for 3 with a home run, a double and eight RBIs.
“I felt pretty good pitching and swinging the bat,” said Aud, a University of Maryland recruit who belted a three-run home run in the third inning. “It was my first game pitching this season, but I felt good. My drop curve stayed up a little bit, but my other pitches were fine. Now it’s all about winning the WCAC title. We’ve been teased the last three years by getting to the final, but this is our year to win it.”
St. Mary’s Ryken second-year head coach Stephanie Dameron has enjoyed the start to the current season, which includes two lopsided victories and a 2-1 win against Bishop McNamara in nine innings on March 11, two days prior to the Holy Cross contest. The Knights suffered their first loss of the season on Friday, 6-5 to Paul VI (Va.).
Monday, St. Mary’s Ryken went to 4-1 overall after getting the better of three-time reigning WCAC champion O’Connell (Va.), 18-14, in a wild, 10-inning affair.
In the top of the 10th, Molly Thompson and Melody Coombs singled, then Aud plated Thompson with an RBI single. With two on and two outs, Kayla Kern belted a three-run, inside-the-park home run to center field to lift the visitors to an 18-14 lead.
In the bottom of the 10th, Aud fanned two O’Connell batters and walked one then retired the side on a pop-up to Coombs at short for the final out of the high-scoring marathon.
Aud recorded her first win against O’Connell in five tries.
Coombs belted two home runs and Kern, Ahmira Miller and Reagan Sutton had one homer each. Kern led the way with five RBIs, Sutton drove in three and Coombs also added a pair of stolen bases. Aud went the distance in the circle and fanned eight batters.
St. Mary’s Ryken has plenty of depth in the batting order and ample power with Coombs and Aud and solid hitters in senior Reagan Towers, Jessica Limerick and Kern.
“I like what I’ve seen so far from the team,” Dameron said after the Holy Cross win. “We’re hitting the ball really well and we’ve been getting good pitching. Defensively, we’ve looked pretty good. Our goal is definitely to keep improving and return here [to Holy Cross] in May to play for the WCAC title.”
Coombs, who has already verbally committed to Penn State for softball, is currently batting leadoff and playing shortstop for the Knights. At Holy Cross she went 2 for 3 with two doubles and walked twice and scored four runs, offsetting a fielding error in the bottom of the first inning.
Like Aud, Coombs is hoping the Knights can finally attain the WCAC title.
“We’re definitely going to win it this year,” Coombs said. “We have a lot of really good seniors and we have some young players that contribute. This year we’re excited to get back here [to Holy Cross] and win the championship. We’re really focused and we’ve been working really hard to make that happen.”
Towers now is hoping to help the Knights end O’Connell’s three-year reign at WCAC champions. Like Aud, Towers was a freshman when O’Connell finally bested St. Mary’s Ryken in an epic, 19-inning WCAC title game that spanned two days and she is hopeful this year’s squad can end their bridesmaid status.
“We’ve been able to get to the WCAC championship each year, but we haven’t been able to win it since I’ve been here,” said Towers, who plans to attend Auburn University and major in architecture. “The seniors know this is our last chance. We’ve got a really good team again this year. Our pitching is strong, our lineup is solid and we have some really talented freshmen that are playing well.”