Shortly after his No. 1 Eastern Tech softball team played another near-flawless game on Wednesday, coach Jack Meyers looked at his players while they gathered their equipment around the team's bench.
What he saw was smiles, laughter and a group that was in no particular hurry to leave the field.
In the Class 2A North Section II title game against No. 6 Hereford, the undefeated Mavericks scored early and then turned the game over to pitcher Jordan Cargile, who allowed three hits while striking out seven in a 7-0 win that puts them 22-0 on the season.
Second baseman Brooke Retkowski, batting ninth in the Mavericks' potent lineup, went 2-for-3 with a triple and four RBIs, while cleanup hitter Bre Casper drove in two more runs with two singles.
"These kids are coming together, they love each other, they like hanging out together. We practice hard and then this is the celebration part of it," Meyers said. "The key to the whole year is we always try to get a couple runs in the beginning of the game and then from there Jordan kind of settles down."
Eastern Tech, which reached the state title game last year, will travel to Section I champion Loch Raven — a 12-2 winner over Lansdowne — on Thursday in a bid to reach its second straight state tournament. The Mavericks defeated Loch Raven, 13-1, in the regular season on April 2.
In beating Hereford 10-0 in the regular season and by the same score for the Baltimore County Championship last week, the Mavericks pounced on the Bulls (14-4) with early runs for Cargile. Nothing was different on Wednesday.
Leading 1-0 going into the bottom of the second, the home team pounded out four hits, took advantage of an infield error and a walk to score four times and take a commanding 5-0 lead. Retkowski, whose soft single just got through to score two of the runs in the second, added to her big day at the plate with a third-inning triple to the gap in right-center to bring home two more for the 7-0 lead.
With the big lead, Cargile retired 11 straight — including the side in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings — to seal the win. Some fine defense came with the win as well. Retkowski snared a hard line drive at second; third baseman Casper made a nice grab on a foul ball as she was nearing the bench; and catcher Brooke Samios-Uy ended the game by throwing out a runner caught off first base.
Class 2A North Section II final
H 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0 3 4
ET 1 4 2 0 0 0 x -- 7 8 1
L. Collins and Bienert; Cargile and Samios-Uy
3B: ET -- Retkowski