If the Sherwood softball team gained anything from the disappointing and emotional end to last season, it is the value of being resilient and taking advantage of opportunities. The Warriors drew on both lessons yesterday en route to a 3-1 victory over host Springbrook in a Montgomery County 4A game.
Sherwood lost to Springbrook last year, 8-3, in the Maryland 4A West Region quarterfinals, a game played without Coach Pat Flanagan in attendance. Flanagan had been commuting between Maryland and Florida to help care for her ailing mother, who died in December.
"I just told the kids you couldn't take anything for granted. Not even your parents," Flanagan said. "You don't ever want to have regrets."
Yesterday, Sherwood (5-0, 1-0) jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when junior third baseman Patsy Morron singled to left field to score sophomores Dana Ward and Katie Obal, who had singled and walked, respectively.
Springbrook (3-2, 1-1) threatened -- the Blue Devils placed four runners in scoring position over the next four innings -- but couldn't break through until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Emily Smith scored on pitcher Lauren Dillon's sacrifice fly.
Sherwood responded in the top of the sixth when Morron got her third RBI on a blistering shot along the third base line to bring in courtesy runner Jessica Ivascu. Ivascu was running for junior pitcher Natasha Sheflett, who had singled to right. "We definitely wanted this win after what happened last season," Morron said. "We definitely wanted to take this game at their home field. We needed to do this. . . . We've learned if someone is down, you can't rely on one person. You need everybody."
Sherwood got strong late-inning pitching from Sheflett, who recorded her only two strikeouts in the last two innings. And Sheflett benefited from solid defensive plays behind her, especially in the fourth inning. On one play, Morron complemented her good offensive day by making a strong throw to first to nab a Springbrook base runner. And second baseman Ward made a play on a tough pop fly on the outfield grass to end the inning.
"These girls never quit on themselves, and never quit on each other," Flanagan said.