Eastern Tech softball’s big sixth inning leads to 5-2 victory over host Catonsville

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Eastern Tech freshman May Dyer pitched four strong innings in her varsity debut and drove in the go-ahead run as the Mavericks broke a tie game with four runs in the sixth inning en route to a 5-2 triumph at Catonsville on Thursday.

Dyer allowed one run and three hits while striking out four and walking three. Senior Malorie Gogel pitched the final three innings and earned the win, yielding one hit and one unearned run.


“That girl is a really strong kid, and as a freshman being in a varsity game at a top level at a top school, you have a lot of pressure on you,” Eastern Tech coach Giselle Alvarez said of Dyer. “As young as she is, she is going to need as much time [to develop] and I have a lot of faith in her, but in that case it wasn’t working and I wanted to pull her early so that we can stay in the game and I can keep her confidence up.”

Catonsville senior pitcher Abby Mitchell was sharp through five innings, allowing only four hits and one unearned run while striking out four. The unearned run tied the score at 1 and came after a two-out triple by Kara Smith in the top of the fifth.


“[Mitchell] pitched a good game. She’s hurt, she got hurt Tuesday, and she’s kind of carried that over a little bit, that’s why we had to pull her out,” Catonsville coach Paul Harris said.

Eastern Tech starting pitcher May Dyer uncorks a pitch against Catonsville during Thursday's game.

She came out with one out in the top of the sixth inning when the Mavericks scored four runs.

Hayden Gilpatrick reached on a two-base error to start the uprising and Dyer drove her home with a liner up the middle for a 2-1 lead.

“I tried to not worry too much about what is going on with my feet or legs, just do what I know to do — make contact and not worry about hitting a home run,” Dyer said.

Amy Montgomery-Smith relieved Mitchell after a walk to Gogel. Laila Bugarini walked before a two-run single by Sydney Weaver and a run-scoring groundout by Smith made it 5-1.

The Comets added a run in the bottom of the seventh after Montgomery-Smith reached on an error and scored on a single by Eliza Krug. It was the only error of the game for the Mavericks (2-0).

Eastern Tech's Kara Smith hammers a drive off Catonsville starting pitcher Abby Mitchell during Thursday's game.

“We are a solid core on our defense,” said Alvarez, who played on Eastern Tech’s 2014 Class 2A state championship team.

The Comets won a Class 4A state title in 2021 and lost in the state semifinals last year, so both coaches are familiar with elite play.


“All power to that [Catonsville] coaching staff and the girls that come to this program,” Alvarez said. “They are a phenomenal group and they do get a lot of kids, but I also feel as if Eastern Tech has always been the top dog as well and that’s what I’m trying to build back up in this program and letting people know Eastern Tech is the place to be.”

The Comets went ahead in the second inning when junior Jaynie Simpkins doubled to deep right field and scored on a opposite-field single to right by Montgomery-Smith. Smith advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Dyer struck out the next two batters to end the rally.

In the fourth, the Comets mounted another rally after a one-out triple by Simpkins and a walk and stolen base by Kylie Tran.

For Simpkins, a junior, it was her fifth hit in the past two games, including a double and home run in a 12-11 win over Sparrows Point in the season opener. Her older sister, Colleen, had a hit and two RBIs against Sparrows Point.

Catonsville's Jaynie Simpkins sprints past first base after a line drive hit during Thursday's game against Eastern Tech.

“Both of them [Simpkins sisters] have been tearing the cover off the ball,” Harris said. “They have provided a lot of our offense over the last two games which has been great.”

But the Comets failed to get a run in the fourth after a sacrifice bunt attempt failed. After a two-out walk to Eliza Krug, Dyer induced a popout to catcher Kaylee Demasse to end the threat.


“At that point, I know that I have to work for my team and my team needs me because without me helping my teammates, we all lose confidence, we all lose energy, so at that point I kind of turn it on,” said Dyer, who was lifted for the veteran Gogel after the fourth.

The Comets evened their record at 1-1, but Harris knows it’s early.

“We are trying to find where the pieces are going to fit and hopefully we get that ironed out in the next week or so and it should be all right,” Harris said. “We will get it figured out, we will be all right. They don’t need to peak right now, they can peak in May and I’m OK with that.”

Catonsville Comets third baseman Sam Rickwalder grabs the relay but Eastern Tech's Kara Smith slides safely in the Mavericks' 5-2 victory.