Eastern Tech softball continues to take all comers, no-hits Patapsco

Eastern Tech softball continues to take all comers, no-hits Patapsco
Jodie Bronushas of Eastern Tech took charge to eke out a win over Lansdowne, then did her part to fulfill a no-hitter against Patapsco last week. Photo by Patrick Taylor.

(Updated 4/26/17)

- By Patrick Taylor -


Toward the end of HBO’s “The Wire,” Omar Little - a man who makes his living robbing drug dealers - gives a stern warning to two individuals who try to gun him down on the street: “You come at the king, you best not miss.” That was the lesson for the Lansdowne softball team last week as they tried to take down a dominant Eastern Tech squad.

Tech, which remains undefeated on the year at 8 - 0, had their biggest test of the season last week, eking out a 3 - 2 come-from-behind victory against a formidable Vikings team.

Lansdowne went up 1 - 0 in the first inning after an error allowed a Viking baserunner to reach home. After initial jitters, Maverick pitcher Jodie Bronushas settled in and got to work. She ended up going the full seven innings, giving up only five hits and allowing no earned runs.

While it took less than an inning for Bronushas to settle in on the mound, Tech was uncharacteristically tame at the plate. They were held without a run until sophomore Casey Turner knocked a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to give her team the lead.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as another unforced mistake allowed Lansdowne to tie the game up in the bottom of the fifth.

In the top of the sixth, with Bronushas on second following her lone hit of the game, junior Natalie Bates managed to knock her home to give a one-run advantage to the Mavericks. The remaining six outs were put away with ease as they managed to hold off Lansdowne for an important statement win.

Bronushas and Tech weren’t done impressing, however.

Following their big win against Lansdowne, the Mavericks found their bats in a big way against Patapsco, peppering the Patriots for 21 runs.

While the offensive output is certainly impressive, Bronushas and freshman pitcher Rilee Fazenbaker deserve high praise heaped upon them after combining for a five-inning no-hitter. Bronushas put up six strikeouts in three innings while Fazenbaker put up three strikeouts in two innings of work.

After going seven innings the previous game, Bronushas deserved a breather. And Fazenbaker delivered on the faith the coaches showed in her. No one wants to be known for blowing a no-hitter, especially a freshman who is just finding her legs. But Fazenbaker threw well, keeping the no-no intact.

Of course, a 21-run performance can’t be mentioned without highlighting some of the more impressive offensive feats.

First and foremost, the entire Tech lineup deserves praise for putting up a staggering 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning. Putting together an inning where everybody hits is impressive. Putting together an inning where everyone hits multiple times is just absurd.

On a personal level, Bronushas didn’t just show up to play on the mound. At the plate, she had herself a fine day going 2- 3 with five RBIs.

On any given day, that would be the standout performance. But against Patapsco, it was Bates who outshined them all, going 3 - 3 with a home run and two doubles while knocking in six runs.

Nina Metz and Amaya Chmielewski each put up two RBIs to help Tech along.

The girls capped off their impressive week with an 8 - 3 win against Towson. Bronushas again went seven innings, amassing seven strikeouts and three earned runs along the way.

With only six games left in the season - and most of the biggest hurdles passed - it’s looking increasingly like Tech might be on their way to a perfect season (if I didn’t just jinx them). They do have one opponent standing in their way, however - Dulaney.

Dulaney currently sits in the No. 2 position, behind Tech, in The Sun’s weekly poll - a well-deserved ranking for a 10 - 1 team. Dulaney and Tech were scheduled to play on April 25, but inclement weather shut it down.

When the game is rescheduled, it will undoubtedly be one you won’t want to miss.

Around the league
The Sparrows Point softball team again received votes in The Sun’s poll but have not been able to crack the Top 15. Still, the Pointers have proven they have a strong squad that needs to be taken seriously. With a 7 - 2 record, the girls are in good position for postseason play.

After returning from spring break, Sparrows Point routed Western Tech by a score of 18 - 0. Following that beat down, the girls managed to hold off a strong Catonsville team by a score of 4 - 2. The girls still have seven games left on their schedule, with two others needing to be rescheduled. If they’re fortunate, they won’t be able to make up their contests against Franklin or Patapsco. While two more wins would look nice on their record, it’s not worth it to try to cram games into the final portion of the season with the postseason looming. Hopefully for SPHS, these games just fall by the wayside.

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Para swimmer Long makes pool history again

Para swimmer Long makes pool history again
Jessica Long training at the Loyola University swimming pool in Baltimore. Photo courtesy of Jessica Long.

(Updated 3/22/17)

- By Marge Neal -


Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long, who grew up in Middle River, recently snagged another piece of disabled swimming history.

The highly decorated athlete with 23 Paralympic medals - including 13 golds - to her name won the first event held at the newly created Para Swimming World Series, a circuit of swim meets that will culminate in the naming of series winners based upon points accrued at all of the meets.

The first meet was held March 11-12 in Copenhagen. When the dust settled, Long was ranked first in the S8 (disability classification) 100-meter freestyle (one minute, 8.36 seconds); 400-m S8 freestyle (4:58.27); and 200-m SM8 individual medley (2:49.33).

The three races were the only ones in which Long competed.

Long is excited about the series format and the competition it provides for world class disabled swimmers, according to a statement from World Para Swimming.

“I think it (the World Series) is fantastic,” she said in the statement. “It is exactly what Paralympians need. It is really going to grow the movement and I am thrilled to be part of it.”

Long burst upon the international para swimming world when she was named to the Paralympic swim team that would represent the U.S. in Athens in 2004. The then-unknown 12-year-old, the youngest member of the team, took the competition by storm and returned home with three gold medals.

She has since competed at the Paralympic  games in Beijng (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016), collecting 23 total medals while becoming the country’s second-most decorated Paralympian, according to United States Olympic Committee records.

Long, who was born in Russia on Leap Day in 1992, was adopted from a Russian orphanage by Steve and Beth Long of Middle River. The future champion swimmer was born with deformed lower legs and, once in this country, it was decided that amputating her lower legs so she could be fitted with prosthetic legs would give her the best chance at a productive life.

She started her competitive swim career at the now-defunct Dundalk-Eastfield Swim Club, where she swam against able-bodied swimmers. Her dedication to training, her love of the sport and her continued progress in lowering her race times soon caught the attention of disabled swimming officials and she was invited to participate in para swimming events.

Since beginning her para swim career, Long has collected more medals and accolades than she can count. In addition to medaling at national and international meets, she was the winner of the 77th AAU James E. Sullivan Award, given to the nation’s best amateur athlete; is a three-time recipient of the Best Female Athlete with a Disability ESPY award, presented annually by the ESPN cable sports network; was twice named the Disabled Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World magazine; and in 2008 received the Juan Antonio Samarach IOC President’s Disabled Athlete Award.

Long will take her number-one rankings to the next meet in the World Series event, set for April 21-23 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Future series meets will be held in Sheffield, England (April 27-30), Indianapolis (June 9-11) and Berlin, Germany (July 6-9).

The inaugural meet in Copenhagen attracted 122 swimmers from 17 countries, according to online records.

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Recreation Council Programs

Football registration
Watersedge Hammerheads Football is currently holding registration for U-6 to U-14 every Friday at the Watersedge Community Center, located at 7894 Dundalk Ave., from 6:30 - 8 p.m. The cost is $125 per child ($50 deposit to hold spot) and $100 for returning players ($50 deposit to hold spot). Ask about our sibling and refer-a-friend discounts. Registration includes: Home and Away Jerseys, integrated pants, socks, swagwear t-shirt. Do not hesitate to ask about payment options. Flag football for children ages 3 and 4 is also ongoing, and costs $40 per child. All registration fees must be paid in full by Aug. 1. For more info, call Scott at 410-818-0435.

After-School Drop In
Do you need a safe place for your child to go after school? Hawthorne Elementary School will hold an after-school drop-in in their recreation activity room from 3:30 - 6 p.m. on school days and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. between June 26 and Aug. 4 for children who have completed kindergarten through age 11. Registration will be held on May 20 and June 10 from 1 - 4 p.m. at Victory Villa Community Center, 404 Compass Road in Middle River, and from 3:30 - 7 p.m. on May 23 and June 7 at the HES Activity Room. Call 410-887-0234 for more information or register online at www.middleriverrec.com.

Camp Greentree
The Essex-Stembridge Recreation & Parks Council is currently taking registration for Camp Greentree. Young people ages 6 - 21 years old, with mild to moderate developmental disabilities are invited to register. This five-week program is held at Mars Estates Elementary School and is open Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. with a staff ratio of one leader to five participants. Included are activities such as arts and crafts, sports, games, trips and more. Camp begins June 26 and runs until July 28. Total registration cost is $225. To request an application or more information, contact the Essex-Stembridge Recreation Office at 410-887-0255.

Summer Basketball
The Rosedale Recreation Council will hold drop-in registration for their 2017 summer basketball program from 6 - 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the Shady Spring PAL Center (8876 Goldenwood Road in Rosedale. The program is open for ages 7 - 14 and costs $40 for previous season participants or $80 for new participants ($10 discount for siblings). Cash or money orders only. Registration is on a first come, first served basis until slots are filled. Parents willing to volunteer to help coach should sign up at registration. Program begins play on June 1 and runs thru Aug. 1. For more information, contact the Rosedale Recreation Office at 410-887-0503 or rosedale-rp@baltimorecountymd.gov.

In-Shape Aerobics and Yoga
The Bengies Chase Recreation Council will hold In-Shape Aerobics and Yoga classes at Vincent Farm Elementary School, 6019 Ebenezer Road in White Marsh, beginning Wednesday, April 19. Aerobics held Monday, Wednesdays and Thursday and Yoga held Tuesdays - all classes 7 - 8 p.m. Call 410-887-5194 for more information.

Essex Summer Daycare Registration
The Essex-Stembridge Recreation Council is currently taking registration for Essex Summer Daycare. To request an application or additional information, contact the Essex-Stembridge Recreation office at 410-887-0255 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., or call the Daycare office at 410-391-3642.

Essex Tot Center
The Essex Tot Center - a program of the Essex-Stembridge Recreation Council - has openings for the fall session and are accepting registration. The program is a parent cooperative program for children 3 and 4 years of age which runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. inside the Essex Elementary Recreation Activity Room, 100 Mace Ave. Classes will begin in September and end in December. For more information, call Essex-Stembridge Recreation Office at 410-887-0255 any weekday between 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., or the Daycare office at 410-391-3642.

Horseshoe Club
The Baltimore Metro Horseshoe Club meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Back River Community Center, 801 Back River Neck Road in Essex. The club offers Baggo and horseshoe leagues and tournaments throughout the year. For more information, contact Terry Hitzelberger at 410-686-5174 or terryhitz@hotmail.com.

Art of Pottery
Register now for the winter session of Art of Pottery with Carol. This class meets on Fridays from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at Victory Villa Senior Center, 403 Compass Road in Middle River. The fee is $35.00 for 10 weeks. Participants must be 60 or older and a member of the Senior Center (there is no fee to join the center).