The Visitation softball team was trailing the top-seeded Flint Hill 6-3 at the top of the fourth inning on Sunday, but seemed poised to close the gap when its last two batters in the order — seniors Cristin George and Emily Ervin — got on base with no outs.
But for one of the few times this season, the top of the Cubs’ lineup couldn’t deliver. After three straight outs, the rally was over along with Visitation’s hopes of capturing the Independent School League championship.
“That didn’t help us at all,” Cubs coach Mary Conlon said of the consecutive outs. “We thought with the top of the order up that we would get something out of it. That was disappointing. If the top of our order isn’t pulling us through, we’re in trouble.”
The undefeated Huskies showed why they’re a juggernaut, finishing off the Cubs with several runs in the fifth inning to seal a 12-5 victory and repeat as ISL champions.
“It was an undefeated team playing well,” said Conlon. “They hit well — they hit where we weren’t, they hit the gaps, they hit it over our heads. They have nine good hitters. We kept battling back until the fifth inning. The efforts were still there, and they never gave up.”
The Cubs’ bright spots were freshman Kiera Dent, who hit a pair of RBIs in the game, and sophomore Joanna Malits, who scored a runner.
While those youngsters played well, the Cubs’ star of the game was George, who went 3-3 at the plate with three hits and two RBIs.
“Cristin is coming around,” said Conlon. “She played freshman year [on junior varsity], concentrated on basketball and came back. For not playing two years, she’s tough. She is coming right to the ball.”
Going forward, the Cubs will look to get the top half of their batting order going — the heart of the lineup that features 2016 D.C. Gatorade player of the year Sydney Love-Baker.
“The bottom of our order did better than the top of our order,” Conlon said of Sunday’s game.
But Visitation won’t be able to nurse its wounds for too long. This week the Cubs will be competing for the D.C. State Athletic Association crown in a tournament culminating Sunday at the National Baseball Academy.
Conlon sees this as the team’s chance for redemption. “We have three more games that we are hoping to play,” she said. “There’s no time to dwell on this. We have to keep moving forward.”