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All-Metro softball Coach of the Year: Jack Meyers, Eastern Tech

Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Eastern Tech was the top-ranked team in the metro area for all but two weeks this season, sitting No. 2 behind Archbishop Spalding in the preseason poll and slipping one spot below Dulaney, then 13-1, in early May. That gave the Mavericks the opportunity for two wins over top-ranked teams, and they came through by beating the Cavaliers, 10-4, and the Lions, 5-2.

After graduating five seniors — including All-Metro first-team first baseman Allison Meyers and All-Metro second-team catcher Sarah Heagy — Meyers began the season with seven of his nine starters playing a different position. But it didn't take long for Eastern Tech to find its footing, sprinting to 10 straight wins before being one-hit — a bunt single — by Player of the Year Erin Collins in a 3-0 loss to Hereford.

That was a wake-up call.

"She dominated us. She controlled us," Meyers said of Collins' performance. "That's never happened. So we worked hard through practice to figure it out, and they responded."

Eastern Tech would get its revenge, defeating the Bulls, 8-4, for their seventh straight Baltimore County championship and again, 4-3 in extra innings, for the Class 2A North Region championship. The postseason run was ended in the state semifinals by North Caroline, 3-2, in the bottom of the seventh. The Bulldogs went on to beat South Carroll in the title game, 8-1, to finish 24-0.

For Meyers, this season provided many new challenges. Along with losing five seniors, it was the first time he hadn't coached most of his players during the summer in club ball. It was also the first year one of his two daughters wasn't on the team.

With so many new faces, his philosophy was simple: discipline. If a player failed to catch a pop-up in a game, she was going to field 20-25 balls the next practice.

"It's probably one of the hardest-working teams that I've coached in the past eight years," he said. "There's been very talented teams that I've coached in the past, but this one became talented through hard work."

The Mavericks, ever-aggressive on the basepaths, averaged close to 11 runs per game and batted .373. They had two players earn All-Metro honors, as pitcher Jodie Bronushas was named to the first team and shortstop Casey Turner the second. They added wins over Class 3A state champion C. Milton Wright, 8-5, and then-No. 9 Lansdowne, 3-2, to finish with six victories against top-10 teams.

"Jodie kept us in the game every game, and these kids kinda grew up real fast," Meyers said. "And they liked playing with each other, and that's half the battle."

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