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Baltimore County Sports

Catonsville softball builds early lead and withstands late Towson rally for 5-4 win

Catonsville’s only loss during its 2021 state championship season came against Towson. So when the No. 2 Comets hosted the Generals Wednesday, they were highly motivated for redemption.

That motivation was evident early as the Comets built a five-run lead through five innings, holding on for a 5-4 victory.

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Senior Maggie Kreis pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits and no walks, while striking out seven. Classmate Abby Mitchell had two doubles, scored two runs and had an RBI for the Comets (3-0).

“[Mitchell] was awesome today, she got our team MVP because of that. She did a terrific job,” Catonsville coach Paul Harris said. “I’m glad her bat has come to life, she’s been struggling over the last couple of games and I think she’s got herself in the right mental spot and it really showed today, right from the first pitch. Obviously taking that pitch out to right field and following it up with a double, to be able to score a run behind that, was an excellent job by her.”

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Mitchell opened the bottom of the first with a double down the right-field line on the first pitch.

“That has been my approach, I am a first-pitch swinger,” Mitchell said. “I’ve hit most of my home runs off my first pitch, so that’s kind of really what I was looking for.”

After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Mitchell scored on an RBI groundout by Kreis.

The Comets loaded the bases when Grace Bielski was hit by a pitch and Alyssa Ochmann and Abby Grimes had back-to-back singles.

Towson pitcher Lexi Predmore wriggled out of the jam, getting a pop-out and a strikeout.

The Comets extended the lead with four runs in the fifth

Sam Rickwalder led off with a single and Mitchell doubled her home for a 2-0 lead.

Mitchell advanced to third on Kreis’ fly out and she scored when Bielski reached on an error. Ochmann also reached on an error and both runners scored on wild pitches for a 5-0 lead.

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Towson (1-1) rallied with three runs in the top of the sixth. Grace Hoey and Eva Bartkawiak opened the inning with singles and Julianna Leatherwood doubled in a run. Marin Harris plated two with a single up the middle.

The Generals chipped away with another run in the top of the seventh.

Freshman Samara Murchison started with a single and later scored after Bartkawiak reached on an infield single and throwing error.

With the tying run on second, Kreis induced a grounder to the mound for the final out.

After the game, Harris praised his hurler, who has thrown complete games in all three of the Comets’ victories.

“When she is pitching like that she is going to be very, very hard to beat. And she had great control over all her pitches, so she was doing an excellent job keeping hitters off balance, moving the ball in and out and up and down,” Harris said. “She threw an excellent game, I’m very proud of her.”

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On the other side of the field. Towson coach Jon Salvino was equally proud of the way his squad fought back.

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“This was fantastic. I’m really thrilled. I just got done telling them today was on me,” Salvino said. “They made a great comeback, a lot of teams going down against the No. 2 team would say ‘We are done at 5-0,’ but we got better as the game went on and that’s really all that I can ask from them and I’m just super proud of them.”

Murchison made a strong impression in her second varsity game.

“We do a hungry person of the game award and she got it today,” Salvino said. “Those were two awesome hits and defensively she was sound and we were wondering if she would be able to keep up offensively and I think we got the answer today.”

Catonsville’s Harris was just happy to escape with a victory.

“Towson always gives us a good game,” Harris said. “I like playing them because I know they are always going to be competitive and they are going to battle us from the first pitch to the last one. The girls got a good game out of it just as we expected.”

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Mitchell was equally as excited to get the triumph over the Comets’ rivals.

“I was on the team last year and losing to Towson was a big loss, but personally I felt like losing to Towson last year was what brought us to states because we were so motivated by such a big loss that we felt like we owed Catonsville something,” she said. “Coming back here with basically the same team with a bunch of new talented girls and beating Towson is like the highlight of the season basically.”


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