It didn’t take long for O’Connell pitcher Kathryn Sandercock to realize she and catcher Meadow Sacadura would make a good team. Sacadura, a freshman, was a bit nervous to catch the hard-throwing junior and her variety of pitches at first, according to Coach Tommy Orndorff, but that feeling quickly dissipated.
During Saturday’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game, the two were in lock-step against St. Mary’s Ryken as Sacadura called the pitches and Sandercock fired them through the cold drizzle and biting wind, striking out 18 and walking none as No. 2 O’Connell rolled to a 9-0 win to repeat as champions at Holy Cross in Kensington.
“It means a lot to us,” Sandercock said of bringing home the championship trophy, “especially those of us who have been here three years or more. We know what it feels like to lose, and we know what it feels like to win. We really wanted this.”
The game, a rematch of last year’s 19-inning marathon, was scoreless into the fourth. Ryken sophomore pitcher Cassie Aud had done well to keep the ball on the ground to that point, but O’Connell’s confidence didn’t waver.
“I knew we were going to win it,” said Sandercock, who gave up just two hits. “We were making contact since the first inning. We just needed to find some gaps.”
With two outs and two on, No. 6 hitter Elizabeth Hoeymans found a gap up the middle to bring home a run. Sacadura then stepped in and blasted a pitch high in the zone over the fence in left center, plating three more as O’Connell (24-0) broke the game open. It was Sacadura’s first home run, and it came on the biggest stage of her young high school career.
“I knew it was going far, but I didn’t know if it was going to go over because I’d never hit one before,” Sacadura said. “I was just really excited. I couldn’t believe it.”
Ryken (16-3), a young team that graduated its ace from last season — All-Met Player of the Year Madison Aughinbaugh — featured five underclassmen in its starting lineup. After a “rough start” to the season, senior Katie Prebble was proud of the way the team came together, playing its best games when it mattered most.
“Even though this game didn’t go in our favor,” said Prebble, who singled in her last high school at-bat. “These girls are ready to come back next season and ready to come back” to the championship.