After a promising start was wiped out by a midseason slump, John Carroll School softball was at a bit of crossroads. The Patriots have regrouped and stand a win away from history.

The Patriots defeated No. 14 Archbishop Spalding, 9-3, in an IAAM A Conference semifinal match in Severn. Meg Sheehan and Erica James each drove in three runs for John Carroll (9-7 overall), and Emma Kropkowski allowed four hits.

The Bel Air school will play 13th-ranked Mount de Sales Academy, Tuesday afternoon at Harford Community College for the league title. It’s the first IAAM A title game appearance for the Patriots, who won five games last season.

John Carroll scored three runs in the third inning and never trailed again. Freshman Emma Ritter went 2-for-4 with a RBI, and Jules Donnelly finished two hits and drove in a run.

Spalding, which won the past two IAAM A titles, scored first in the bottom of the second as Catherine Harding drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Angela Sena. The Cavaliers appeared to tack two more runs, but a runner interference call, took the runs off.

In the top of third, Sheehan and Ritter each doubled in a run, and Donnelly singled for a 3-1 Patriot lead. Spalding got to 3-2 in the fourth, but James hit a two-run home run in the fifth and Sheehan went deep in the sixth for a three-run round tripper to put the game out of reach.

After a 5-0 start, John Carroll dropped seven straight, but now have won three straight including a second win this spring over Spalding. The Patriots will try complete their breakout campaign Tuesday against Mount de Sales, looking to send retiring coach Pete Waskiewicz .

The Sailors won both regular season decisions, 3-2 and 12-7.

IAAM A Conference softball semifinal

John Carroll School 9, No. 14 Archbishop Spalding 3

John Carroll 003 023 1 – 9 12 3

Spalding 010 110 0 – 3 4 3

Kropkowski and James; Gibson and Sena

2B: John Carroll – Sweeney, Sheehan, Ritter; Spalding – Johnson

HR: John Carroll – James, Sheehan