It’s hard to believe that batting practice was the scariest part of Eastern Tech’s 24-1 victory in the Class 2A state semifinal against McDonough, of Charles County, at Bachman Park on Tuesday afternoon.
During batting practice, junior third baseman Bre Casper’s shoulder popped out.
Casper, who had surgery for a torn labrum last year, had trainers put it back in and she wore a brace around the shoulder and proceeded to dominate at the plate — going 4-for-4, with a home run, double and six RBIs to lead the Mavericks’ 22-hit assault.
The win advanced the Mavericks (24-0) to the state championship game, where they will play Easton or South Carroll.
Casper’s first hit had the least distance, but it was a pivotal play in a three-run first.
After Brooke Samios-Uy (.671 average) led off with a single and moved to third one out later on Jordan Cargile’s single, Casper hit a bouncer down the third base line that trickled off the glove of McDonugh's Sam Donaldson.
Samios-Uy took off for home and the throw to catcher Eliza Shontz beat her, but she jumped over the tag onto the plate for the first run.
“Isn’t that something. It’s a special year and things happen in a special year, hopefully,” Eastern Tech coach Jack Meyers said.
An RBI groundout by Giselle Alvarez and run-scoring single by Sarah Heagy (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) completed the scoring in the first inning.
That was enough for Eastern Tech ace Cargile, who allowed just one hit and struck out four in five innings against McDonough (16-5).
“The philosophy is to get a couple runs for her and she settles down and it gets a little more comfortable for her and she just dominates,” Meyers said.
Eastern Tech added six runs in the second, two in the third, five in the fourth and eight in the fifth.
“Brooke Samios-Uy is the one that sets up the table and we’ve got a little slapper (Keri Klimko) that gets on base and then (Jordan) Cargile hits them in and it just snowballs all down the line and then it turns over again.”
Samios-Uy, Cargile and Jen January had three hits each and Sarah Heagy, Allie Meyers (5 RBIs), Brooke Retkowski and Emma Lamartina had two hits each and Lamartina (3 RBIs) came off the bench.
Casper even got a bench break after her two-run double in the top of the fourth and reserve Sara Ciekot made a fine play in the bottom of the inning at third.
Coach Meyers praised the patience of the young sophomore reserves who haven’t gotten as much playing time because the Mavericks have won 20 of 24 games by the 10-run rule, while outscoring opponent 364-11.
“Those kids are unselfish and they know our number one goal this year is to win the whole thing and they put that on the backseat right now and just want this team to win right now,” Meyers said. “They are special kids.”
Casper proved she was special too by playing through the pain.
“Yes, it was painful, but it was state semis and I knew I had to do it,” said Casper, who was sitting on the fastball when she clubbed her home run.
“She was throwing me right down the middle. My first one, it was knee high right down the middle and I saw her habits and I knew it was going to be there again so I just got a jump on her because I knew it was coming,” she said.
Now, she is preparing for Eastern Tech’s second trip to the state finals on May 23 or 24 and seeking the school’s first state title after losing in the state finals to Northern-Calvert.
“We have to just work on our offense and hitting and make sure everything stays the way that it is, not falter and think, because we are undefeated, we can shut down.”