Catonsville softball players Erin Kreis and Nicole Beautz talk about their win over Hereford on Wednesday, April 6. (Craig Clary and Ulysses Munoz / BSMG)
Catonsville's young softball squad lost its first three games this season so they haven't had much to celebrate.
Perhaps that's why when freshman pinch hitter Rayner Reinhardt drove home Caitlin McCormick with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning against visiting Hereford (2-2), the Comets (1-3) didn't run out and celebrate the 14-4 final score and 10-run mercy-rule victory.
"I forgot all about the run rule. I'm not even thinking run rule," Catonsville coach Steve McCleary said. "This is not a team where I plan on run-ruling people."
That may have been the case in the first three games this season, when the Comets fell to Towson, 9-8, Glen Burnie, 12-2, and Dulaney, 5-0, in a rain-shortened game, but it wasn't the case Wednesday evening for a Catonsville squad that features seven freshmen and three sophomores.
One of those freshmen, right-handed pitcher Erin Kreis, was rock solid on the mound, while earning her first varsity victory.
Alyssa James had two walks in the inning and Kelsey Ellis also got a free pass.
Kreis and Sherrill reached on errors.
McCormick reached on a fielders choice, Amber Lally had a bunt single and Beautz and Callie McCleary had sharp singles to the outfield during the uprising.
The Comets also showed off their speed during the inning taking extra bases at every opportunity.
"They actually have a motto that we have kind of given them and that is that they have to always grind," McCleary said. "No matter what happens, they've got to grind through it and keep working and never give up, so it's a grind mentality."
Beautz doubled and scored on a fielders' choice by Alyssa James.
The left-handed Kreis doubled home James with an opposite-field rope and the Comets led 2-1.
"I don't really think when I hit, I kind of just go up there and it looked good to me and I've been working on hitting outside pitches the opposite way so I was just really glad that I got that hit," Kreis said.
Hereford regained the lead with a pair of runs in the second inning.
Hannah League walked and scored on a three-base throwing error after a sacrifice bunt by Jen Abbott.
Abbott scored on a sacrifice fly by Hall and Kreis was helped by a fine shoestring catch by right fielder Jones on a sinking liner off the bat of Emilee Cope.
Catonsville regained the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Sherrill drove in a run on a fielders' choice and Jones added a two-run single giving the Comets a 5-3 lead.
Hereford's final run was scored by Carley Blevins on a wild pitch after her two-out walk was followed by a hit from Reuter and walk from Hannah League.
Kreis stranded three runners with her third strikeout of the game.
That made new first baseman Beautz happy.
"It feels great. I'm glad Erin is here and she is pitching great and I'm very excited," said Beautz, who moved to first base after playing center field last season. "I'm very excited to play here (first base). It's my first time playing here this year or ever in my softball career and I was really happy how it went and I had one or two errors, but I made the next play and I kept my head up and I'm very excited."
"The thing about Beautz is she can play anywhere," McCleary said. "She knows the game and that is huge because this team is so young and not a lot of them know the game well."
Because they are so young, he knows they will have growing pains.