Top-ranked Eastern Tech has a simple strategy this season: stake pitcher Jordan Cargile with an early lead and force teams to try to mount a comeback against the ace pitcher.
So far, that plan has worked perfectly.
The host Mavericks passed one of their toughest tests Saturday against No. 5 and previously undefeated Seton Keough, cruising to an 8-0 victory. Cargile, the 2013 Baltimore Sun Player of the Year, picked up her seventh shutout of the season and did not allow a hit until the seventh inning. Breanna Casper hit a deep homer to center field for Eastern Tech, which improved to 11-0 on the year.
"They're a great team and we were curious how we would measure up to a team like that," Eastern Tech coach Jack Meyers said. "Our goal is to get two or three runs early to put the pressure on them. We're facing all kinds of different pitching, and we're making our adjustments."
Cargile, who also struck out eight batters, had a hit and three RBIs. Giselle Alvarez also had a pair of RBIs for the Mavericks. Kelly Lynch and Amber Cosgrove had the hits for Seton Keough (7-1).
Eastern Tech opened a 5-0 lead in the second inning on a single by Keri Klimko that scored a run on a throwing error. Cargile singled and Alvarez doubled to knock in the other runs.
After Allison Clampitt reached on an error to open the game, Cargile did not allow another base runner until the sixth inning with her only walk of the game. She kept batters off balance with a solid mix of pitches and was overpowering at times.
"I think I pitched pretty well today and was hitting my spots," Cargile said. "Our defense was really good today. We had a lot of nice plays and the outfield was tracking the ball. We are looking toward the states, but we're still taking a game at a time."
After Casper's homer increased the lead to 6-0 in the fourth inning, the Mavericks continued to pull away and added their final two runs an inning later on a double by catcher Brooke Samios-UY and a fielder's choice by Cargile.
Seton Keough coach Chuck Snee was disappointed by how his team responded when it fell behind. However, the Gators remain in first place in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference and will have an opportunity to further distance themselves when league play resumes this week.
"We've been playing so well and we came out today and, for whatever reason, acted like we just weren't as good as they are," Snee said. "I give them credit. Eastern Tech is a very good team."