Holding on to a slender 1-0 lead over Havre de Grace in the fourth inning of Wednesday's UCBAC softball championship game at Harford Tech, the home team C. Milton Wright Mustangs needed a big hit, and they got it in the form of a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle from sophomore Kyralee Comeaux.
The Mustangs went on to take the game, 4-1, and the UCBAC softball championship. It was not the first time Comeaux provided her team with the winning margin.
"We are so excited about Kyralee," CMW skipper Russell Kovach said after his team was awarded the UCBAC championship plaque. "We didn't have her starting at the beginning of the year. She stepped up, and man has she been a great player for us. She's been stellar, an incredible defensive outfielder, and the best thing about her is she doesn't give up. She sucks it up, and gets the hits. She very rarely strikes outs, especially later in the game when she's seen the pitcher a few times. This was, I think, the fourth game that she's knocked in a run like that, where it wound up winning the game for us."
CMW was the Chesapeake (upper) Division title winner, while Havre de Grace won the Susquehanna (lower) Division crown.
CMW's Lauren Hufham set the stage in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out single to left, and Holli Rutkowski followed with a walk to put two on base. Both runners moved over one base on a wild pitch, but Havre de Grace hurler Megan Thompson settled down to strike out CMW pitcher Morghan Fulton. Comeaux came to the plate and drove one of Thompson's fastballs over second base, driving home both her teammates and giving the Mustangs a 3-0 cushion.
"I just told myself I had to get a hit," Comeaux said. "There were two runners on, and it was game time. I had to get it done. She threw me a fastball a little outside, and I got on it and shot it up the middle."
The Mustangs posted one run in the bottom of the first, as Emily Luzetsky, who led off with a triple to right field, scored on Catherine Kim's RBI groundout to second.
Following Comeaux's two-RBI single in the fourth, the Warriors put themselves on the board in the top of the fifth. Allison Lewis led off, belting Fulton's first offering to the gap in right center for a double. Then Emily Lewis hit an RBI single to short right to score her twin sister. Emily Lewis was thrown out trying to stretch her hit into a double and Fulton retired the next two Havre de Grace hitters on infield groundouts to escape the jam without further damage.
In the bottom of the fifth, leadoff hitter Kim reached base on a throwing error, moved to second when Caroline Weimer earned a walk, then raced around to score the game's final run on MacKenzie Fitzgerald's RBI groundout to second. The Mustangs might have seen a few more runs in the fifth were it not for Havre de Grace center fielder Kateri Peters, who retired Jenny Lynch with a running, shoestring catch, then ended the inning with a sliding grab of Hufham's dipping line drive.
Havre de Grace's Taylor Smith nearly tied the game by herself in the top of the third, belting a pitch to within feet of the right field fence.
"We knew we had to be cognizant of their number three hitter, Taylor," Kovach said. "And even knowing that she nearly hit one over the fence."
Kovach said his team was prepared for a battle with the lower-division champ Havre de Grace.
"We wanted to just put the ball in play, which we didn't do the best job of today," he said. "We wanted to do that, and leave the rest up to Morghan [Fulton]. She did a good job today, held them to five hits. We most definitely did not want to underestimate Havre de Grace. I know there's upper and lower divisions, but they are a great team, and they're extremely well coached. I knew they'd give us a great game, and they did."