It was before Catonsville High's 15-2 win over Patapsco on Wednesday that Comet softball coach Steve McCleary was most emotional.

It was before Catonsville High's 15-2 win over Patapsco on Wednesday that Comet softball coach Steve McCleary was most emotional.

McCleary was preparing to watch the last of his three daughters, Callie McCleary, play on senior day, and he knew it was the end of an era.


It wasn't just Callie, in her fourth season on varsity, who he was thinking about.

Her older sisters, Kristen, who started pitching for the Comets in 2007 and graduated in 2010, and Caitlin, who graduated in 2007, after being selected as an All-County Second Team outfielder, had played for the Comets under former head coach Billy Nelson.

McCleary took over as varsity head coach during Callie's sophomore year and has been there ever since.

"It is special and as I think back, this is my last one," McCleary said. "It's amazing how 2002 to 2016 went so fast, my God, it feels like 10 minutes."

Callie, who went 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored, sensed her dad's change in emotion.

"I could tell he was a little bit emotional, but not much different," Callie said.

Pictures of McCleary were posted around the field and the Catonsville's girls lacrosse team was also there to cheer her on in the early innings.

"It was a nice gesture that the varsity lacrosse coach [Cantey Evans] brought her team down because Callie has a lot of friends on the lacrosse team so they came down and watched the first inning or two and then they went up and practiced," Steve McCleary said.

The Catonsville girls lacrosse team had its own senior night the day before and seniors Kelsey Scott, Bri Spinnato, Lila Nazarian, Andrea McTaggart and Taylor Stephen enjoyed an 18-8 win over Sparrows Point.

On the softball diamond, the margin of victory was even higher and the head coach made sure his team was loose before the game.

"When I gave the lineup, I said, 'Batting leadoff, Callie McCleary, and you are pitching' and she said 'I knew you were kidding,'" McCleary said. "Everybody else was terrified."

That wasn't that much of a stretch.

McCleary batted second against the Patriots and she has pitched for the Comets throughout her career.

"I figured it out today, in her four years, she has never caught and never played first. She has played everything else," the coach said.


Earlier this season, Callie moved from the outfield to third base while sophomore leadoff hitter Nicole Beautz moved from the outfield to first base.

"It became apparent that we needed stronger play at the corners," McCleary said. "Callie said, 'I'll play third, I've never played it, but I'll try it and try to make more of an impact there.'"

The infield, that also includes sophomore shortstop Alyssa James and junior second baseman Amber Lally, has grown as a unit.

"The infield has been solid over the last six games," McCleary said.

So has the pitching that was blessed with the arrival of freshman Erin Kreis.

"Kreis, over the last three or four games, has thrown more strikes," McCleary said.

Against Patapsco, Kreis allowed three hits and struck out six and walked one in four innings, while earning the win for the 7-7 Comets.

The only run scored when Patapsco's Bri Weiford singled home Tabby Mcle, who had singled with one out in the fourth inning.

Beautz pitched the final inning and allowed an unearned run.

Offensively, freshmen Rayner Reinhardt and Kreis and sophomore James had three hits while freshmen Katrina Bucher, Kelsey Jones and Caitlin McCormick had two hits each.

Five of the seven freshmen on the roster started and the other two contributed.

Brooke Mariner scored two runs and Rachel Phillips played the last inning at catcher.

Juniors Brooke Hebron and Jade Sherrill also got into the action and kept coach McCleary's mind off his daughter.

"Once the game starts I just try to coach the game and I was trying to sub so many kids in and I had more going in my head this game," he said.

Although the Comets are scheduled to end the regular season at home against Western Tech on Friday, May 6, predicted rain may wash out the game.

Therefore, the next game could be in the regional playoffs next week and Callie McCleary will be ready.

"We've really improved from the past three years I've been here and it's great to end it on a good year, but we have a lot of young talent," she said. "A lot of girls have worked really hard this year and we've improved from the beginning of the season until now and hopefully we can do well in the postseason and they can continue to do well after I leave."

Around the Diamond

Franklin 7

Lansdowne 5

In other local action, Landowne lost for only the second time this season as Franklin defeated them 7-5.

Standout senior catcher Hannah Goodman and her sister, sophomore pitcher Jordyn Goodman didn't play in the first four innings and the Vikings trailed 7-3.

Jordyn yielded one hit and one walk in the final three innings, but the Vikings' rally fell short.

"We just couldn't string together enough hits to come all the way back," said Lansdowne coach Ken Goodman, whose 14-2 squad will play Eastern Tech on Tuesday, May 10 at Community College of Maryland Dundalk in the Baltimore County championship game.