Nothing about the impressive run of tournament success has been normal for the Catonsville Chaos 14-Under travel softball squad. In fact, the winning season, which includes three tournament titles, one runner-up finish, and two third-place efforts has been extraordinary.
But Normal is where they are headed — as in Normal, Illinois for the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) ‘A’ True Nationals.
Coaches Pat Cimerola, Steve McCleary and Troy Wells will take their band of talented players to the big stage July 28 through Aug. 4.
They tuned up for the nationals by going 3-1 playing in the Young Guns Futures Showcase Tournament in the 16-U age bracket July 13-14 in Newton, Pa.
It is the third time they have competed in the higher age bracket.
At the Chaos for the Cure tournament, held at their home field at Catonsville Middle School in late June, they went 5-0 and won the bracket.
Earlier that month, they were third in the 16-U bracket at the Orange Crush tournament in Delaware.
“Our pitching is unbelievable,” said McCleary, noting the team’s earned run average is less than a a run and a half per game.
McCleary’s daughter, Callie, a rising sophomore pitcher and shortstop at Catonsville High, plays outfield for the Chaos, which boasts strong pitching strength at the top in the dynamic duo of Evvie Buehlman and Lexi Trail.
Callie followed older sisters Caitlin (2007 Catonsville High graduate) and Kristin (2010 graduate) to Catonsville High where she is also coached by her dad, who is an assistant to head coach Bill Nelson.
“I’ve learned my lessons,” said McCleary, who has coached all three daughters for various teams through the years. “I know when to back off and I’m probably easier on her than I was on the other two.”
Catonsville Chaos pitching doesn’t make it easy on an opposing teams as evidenced in the most recent tournament.
Buehlman tossed a four-hit shutout in a 7-0 triumph over Ewing Edge in the first game of the Young Guns tournament.
She also helped her own cause by going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
Tyler Merritt was 3-for-3 in the victory that included a five-run fourth inning.
They followed with an 11-1 triumph over the Valley Forge Pats Red that completed pool play.
Amanda Berkley was the winning pitcher for the Chaos and she was supported by two hits each from Buehlman, Merritt, Hannah Cimerola and Emma LaMartina and two RBIs from Megan Dvorak.
The Chaos made it three straight victories when they opened up the single-elimination tournament as the top seed and they blanked Ewing Edge, 4-0, behind the 3-hit, 6 strikeout effort from Trail.
Hunter Royston had two hits and a double to lead the offense.
Catonsville was eliminated by the Harleysville Thunderbirds, 3-0, despite a strong pitching performance from Buehlman, who fanned seven batters in the four-inning contest.
Buehlman also proved her prodigious power hitting ability over the Fourth of July weekend when she clubbed three home runs over a 6-foot high fence 225-feet away at the Aunt Rosie’s ASA National Qualifier in Buffalo, NY.
Players earn a trophy for each home run they hit over the fence and Buehlman received two trophies and a ball for her feat.
Besides winning on the diamond, the Chaos have proven to be a success off of it as well.
“We always represent ourselves well on and off the field,” McCleary said. “You win with class and you lose with class.”
The squad also includes: Maggie Deckelman (2B), Allison Wilcox (1B), Kaelyn Lavin (OF) and Meghan Jacobs (C).
Eight players from this year’s 33-8-1 squad played on the 2012 team that won four tournaments and went the Eastern Nationals in Piedmont, Va. where they finished 17th.