The coincidence was simply too great to ignore.
Anyone who follows sports probably has heard of the Sports Illustrated jinx. People or teams who are featured on that magazine's cover often flop soon thereafter.
Well Jodi Meitl, star softball pitcher for Centennial, didn't make the cover, but a color photo of her appeared on Page 85, the "Faces in the Crowd" section of the May 18 issue.
The item read: "Jodi Meitl, a senior softball pitcher at Centennial High, in one week threw two no-hitters and a one-hitter, allowing one earned run and one walk and striking out 32, in wins over Atholton, Hammond and Oakland Mills Highs."
So on May 19, Meitl pitched in the Class 3A semifinal of the state tournament and was shelled by Calvert High.
They rapped eight hits, more than she had allowed in any game all season, and scored four runs.
Meitl made no excuses and said she had no regrets.
"We couldn't have done anything differently," she said. "I was throwing hard, but they hit everything -- risers, outside curves and changes. Up until the third inning, I hadn't thrown a single ball because they hit everything."
Calvert ended Centennial's dream of an unbeaten season and a state title by beating Meitl and the Eagles, who were ranked fourth in the metro area by The Baltimore Sun. The Eagles were 19-0, and Meitl had pitched all but three innings of Centennial's season.
hTC Calvert (18-3) produced all four runs in the third inning on three hits, a walk and three Centennial errors. Melanie Goucher hit her fourth home run of the season -- the first all season off Meitl.
"I'm very proud to have appeared in Sports Illustrated and don't think it had anything to do with my performance today," Meitl said. "Maybe it gave the other team a little more motivation to beat us."
Calvert's players and coach were well aware of Meitl's SI appearance but said it didn't really motivate them.
"We had enough motivation because six of us have played four years, and we lost last year when we thought we should have won [the state title]," said Katrina Keller, Calvert's pitcher. The 5-foot-1, 115-pounder allowed just two scratch singles and two walks, and fanned seven. Her record is 14-1.
"[Meitl] threw hard, but we weren't awed because we faced two or three pitchers this year who threw as hard as her," said Calvert coach Frank Moore. "After we scored those four runs, I thought we would win because [Keller] is a pretty good little pitcher."
Calvert's four-run third inning started with a bunt that turned into an error when first baseman Rebecca Vanisko juggled the throw. A single to center field by Kim King and a double error by Centennial center fielder Heather Bradburn produced one run.
Centennial scored once in the third inning on a walk, a bunt, an infield hit by Kelly Butler and Calvert's only error. Centennial made four errors.