Nearly every Oakland Mills starter contributed to Thursday's crucial, 9-2 victory over Mount Hebron that broke the Vikings' six-game winning streak.
But Scorpions pitcher Joe Coughlan undeniably was the game's star, pitching a five-hitter and hitting a home run.
In fact, Coughlan has led a surging Oakland Mills team to six wins in its last seven games and back into the Class 3A, Region I playoff picture.
Coughlan (5-1) has pitched five straight complete-game victories, including shutouts over Atholton and league-leading Hammond.
The senior has allowed just three earned runs during those fivestarts, which include a three-hitter against Hammond, four-hitters against Atholton, Howard and South River and Thursday's five-hitter against Mount Hebron.
By beating Mount Hebron, Oakland Mills (8-6 overall, 6-4 league) moved ahead of Liberty into fourth place in the Region I playoff standings. The top four teams make the playoffs.
They also moved within two games of league-leading Hammond, which was upset Thursday by Atholton, 11-10. Hammond is 8-2; Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills are 6-4. Four league games remain.
"Our coaches told us we needed to win the rest of our games to make the playoffs, so that's what we've been trying to do," Coughlan said. "My arm was a little sore today, so I threw more curveballs than fastballs."
Mount Hebron was helpless against Coughlan's curve, which he consistently broke low in the strike zone.
Of Mount Hebron's five hits, two were infield singles and one was a wind-blown pop fly.
"It helped to have the wind blowing in from left field today," Coughlan said. "It's been blowing in four times during games I've pitched, and my teammates are kidding me a lot about that."
Coughlan fanned six batters and walked none, some serious pitching that certainly was no joke to Mount Hebron.
The first Mount Hebron run scored in the second inning on an infield hit by Chris Leineur, a double by Tony Yanero and a ground out by Cliff Kincaid.
The other Vikings' run scored in the fifth inning on a wind-blown single by Kincaid, a stolen base, a throwingerror by Scorpions catcher Tony Scarzello that allowed Kincaid to reach third base and a sacrifice fly by Tony Califano.
Oakland Millsscored one run in the third inning. Steve Kavakos was hit by a pitchleading off the inning against Vikings starter Mike Miller.
Kavakos advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Todd Lockwood and scoredon Brian Lopez's single to left field. Lopez went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt.
Trailing, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth, Oakland Mills broke the game open with four runs on four singles, two walks anda suicide squeeze bunt off Miller, whose record fell to 1-4.
Kavakos led off with a single to right field. Lockwood then sacrificed Kavakos to second base on a bunt, but also was safe at first base with a single when no Viking covered the bag.
Lopez also bunted and beat out the throw from Miller to fill the bases.
Matt Donovan successfully executed a suicide squeeze, scoring Kavakos. Donovan was thrown out at first base on the play.
Travis Williams walked to load the bases again. Coughlan walked forcing in a run. Then Steve Finkill singled just past third baseman Chris Dodson's glove driving in two runs. Oakland Mills led, 5-2.
Kavakos started another four-run rallyin the sixth by leading off with a single. Lockwood followed with a walk. Lopez's sacrifice bunt advanced them a base. Donovan hit an RBIsingle. Williams hit a sacrifice fly for another run. And Coughlan capped the inning with a two-run homer to right field.