In the hours leading up to Saturday’s DCSAA championship softball game against Maret, National Cathedral’s Kinza Baad was hobbling around on crutches after a pitch hit her in the right foot in Thursday’s win against Georgetown Visitation.
Baad woke up Saturday morning and took a few ice baths, and reflected on last season, when she missed all but three games with a severe shoulder injury. She wondered aloud if she was going to miss the final game of her high school career before heading off to Virginia on a softball scholarship next year.
“I’m supposed to be on crutches until Tuesday. But I couldn’t miss this game,” Baad said. “The adrenaline really helps with the pain.”
Baad had plenty of adrenaline pumping through her body when she came to the plate with the score knotted at 2 in the bottom of the seventh Saturday — and after she singled to right, she stole two bases to reach third. Freshman Ellie Frank then provided the walk-off RBI single to lift National Cathedral to a 3-2 win over Maret in a thrilling inaugural DCSAA championship game in Northwest.
“Both teams had been playing really well. There was a little bit of pressure,” Frank said of the final at-bat.
The win capped a dominant year for the Eagles (15-1), who were the favorite in Saturday’s game but received all they could handle against a Maret club that won back-to-back one-run games this week to reach the final. Baad’s single in the first inning scored Sarah Ing to give National Cathedral a 1-0 lead, and Ing scored again in the third inning off a bases-loaded infield single by Hannah Menard to make it 2-1.
But Maret never went away and capitalized on a number of passed balls throughout the game. One blunder came in the fourth, when Ing struck out freshman Louisa Greenberg — but the ball slipped past the catcher and Greenberg reached base. After stealing a base, she scored on an RBI single by Nora Bess. Maret nearly went ahead in the top of the seventh after a triple by Anna Bostwick, but Ing got out of the jam with her sixth strikeout of the afternoon.
That led to the triumphant seventh inning for Baad and the Eagles. Baad looked worn out throughout the afternoon as she limped around the field while playing shortstop, but even with the injury she was still moved to catcher in the fifth inning to shore up National Cathedral’s woes behind the plate.
Baad also noticed all the outfielders moving back toward the fence when she came up to the plate in the seventh inning, a nod of respect to her reputation — and she used the space to bloop a single just off the infield. After stealing two bases, National Cathedral loaded the bases for Frank, who pushed a line drive to left field.
“I think I’ve had a couple good hits [this year], but never at a more opportune time,” Frank said.
As soon as Baad crossed the plate, she was mobbed by her teammates. It wasn’t more than a minute after that she went looking for her crutches, taking off her cleat to help comfort her throbbing foot.
“I knew nothing would stop me,” Baad said. “I feel so at peace with the fact that it’s over, because I feel that I did everything that I could. I left it on the field.”