“At first I was going to get the surgery and not play, but I knew we had the potential to do great [things] this season, so I’m sticking it out because I believe in us,” Matulonis said.
A four-year member of the team, Matulonis did not want to miss her last hurrah. Surgeons will tighten the ligaments and tendons after the season, but for now she serves as an example to her teammates in toughness, perseverance and versatility.
Because of her injury, the right-handed senior now bats left, slap-bunting her way on base. Typically a shortstop, Matulonis has also played right field and second base while the Coach Joe Hart figured out the optimal alignment.
Junior pitcher Brooke Steinbach has compiled a 15-1 record, and six different players are hitting over .400. This leaves Hart with a good problem.
While en route to a meeting with Anne Arundel County coaches to discuss selection for the all-county team, Hart said he did not know how he could whittle down his list.
In his third year coaching the Eagles, Hart has seen contributions from the top to the bottom of his lineup all year.
“Even when they get down, they never give up,” he said. “They just fight, and fight and fight.”
On May 3, facing a crucial county test at Chesapeake, Northeast went down 4-2 in the fourth inning before scoring four sixth inning runs to win, 6-5.
The refusal to quit harkens back to players who pushed through injuries and to a 7-1 loss to Old Mill in April in which Hart left the dugout to question a call.
“He just shows up that he never gives up,” Steinbach said.
Northeast is the No. 1 seed in the Maryland 3A East Region tournament. After a first-round bye, the Eagles face the winner of Wilde Lake and Howard, which has eliminated the Eagles from the past two tournaments. Along with Northern, Northeast’s nine state championships tied for the most in the history of Maryland public high schools
“I’m actually excited, and I hope we get Howard,” Steinbach said. “ I think we can beat them.”
Eleanor Roosevelt reigns atop Prince George’s 4A standings
Coach Delton Fuller would have been okay with a loss.
With his team trailing 7-0 in the third inning at Bowie on Monday, Fuller remarked to an assistant coach that a loss “might not be such a bad thing” after the Raiders won all of their previous 16 games.
The team’s defense was unfocused, and Fuller desired a change. After coming back in the bottom of the seventh to defeat closest rival C.H. Flowers the previous week, Eleanor Roosevelt did not need the win to lock up the Prince George’s 4A title.
“We need to reenergize and get hungry,” he said, recalling the dugout conversation.
But the group he’s dubbed, “the comeback kids,” did it again, putting up eight runs in the fifth inning to win, 16-11, and finish the regular season with an unblemished 17-0 record.