(June 3, 2022) The Stephen Decatur softball team had a successful season, finishing in the top four in the MPSSAA 3A state tournament.

“We made the final four and that’s a huge accomplishment,” said Decatur Coach Scott Kurtz.

Decatur traveled to Glen Burnie to battle the Chopticon Braves in the 3A state semifinals last Wednesday.

“They were a very good team. Their whole lineup’s loaded. Every girl swung hard and hit the ball hard. Everything was a laser,” Kurtz said after his team’s 14-0 loss. “We could hit their pitcher, but every hit we had went to a player. We were making contact, we just couldn’t put it together.”

Freshman Ava Snelsire had Decatur’s only base hit.

Senior Skylar Griffin started on the mound. She pitched 3.1 innings and gave up five runs, five hits and walked one.

Freshman Madison McGinnis threw 3.1 innings. She gave up nine runs, eight hits, walked five and struck out two.

Sophomore Leah Simpson finished the game. She struck out one in .1 of an inning.

“When I knew it looked like we wouldn’t be able to come back, I said to the girls, ‘we made it to the final four, you’ve got to be proud of that,’” he said. “‘Learn from the loss, and let it fire you up and fuel you. Remember the success you had and don’t let this diminish that.’”

The team was congratulated by Berlin Mayor Zack Tyndall, who also attended the game, and their bus received a police escort in their final trek back to the Berlin school.

“It was a cool finish to a long day,” Kurtz said.

Decatur finished the season with a 20-3 record.

The Lady Seahawks were back-to-back Bayside Conference champions (Decatur last won the conference championship in 2019. There was no season in 2020 because of covid. In 2021 the season was condensed and there was no conference championship game played.)

The team also won the program’s first regional title since 1991.

“We ended the season with a balanced team … and everyone was motivated,” Kurtz said. “The last three weeks we turned a corner and the girls started playing for each other. Teamwork was better and the more they played the more fun they had. You could see the tenacity and the desire to win. You could see the joy in the team and each others’ success. We came together when it mattered most.”

The team will graduate three players, all of whom with play at the collegiate level – Griffin (University of New Haven), Chloe Candeloro, (McDaniel) and Alexa Eisemann (West Liberty University).

“It was a fantastic senior group. It will be tough to replace the three seniors and there will be a void there that needs to be filled, but we have girls who are hungry to play,” Kurtz said. “We had a lot of talent this year and it was hard to play everyone. But if they put in the work now, they will get better and reap the rewards.”

Kurtz said he will meet with the players returning to discuss their performance this season and their goals and expectations for the future, academically and athletically.

“We started three freshmen, two sophomores a junior and three seniors,” he said. “We’ll be a relatively young team, but we’re bringing back a lot of talent. There’s also some girls coming up (from eighth grade) who play a lot of softball. I think we’ll have a nice team again and it’s exciting.”

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