Hammond High advanced to the Class 2A state baseball final by beating Edgewood 7-0 yesterday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Anne Arundel County.
The Bears (19-4) will play the winner of yesterday's other 2A semifinal, Northeast vs. Middletown (past the Howard County Sun deadline), in the championship final 10 a.m. Saturday at McCurdy Field in Frederick. The Bears have never won a state baseball title.
Senior left-hander Joe Nestor (9-2) pitched a two-hitter, fanned nine and walked just one.
"It was one of my best outings," Nestor said. "My slider was working well, and I was throwing harder than usual and spotting my fastball exactly where I wanted it."
Nestor pitched only two innings in the regional playoffs because of a sore right hip. "The hip felt good today," he said.
Mark Salerno homered and Mike Alverez and Jeff Lavis each tripled and and went 2-for-3 to lead Hammond's six-hit attack.
The Bears scored four runs in the first inning on four hits against Edgewood starter Wade Greason.
"Byscoring early, we took Edgewood out of sync, and Nestor pitched a great game," Hammond coach Bob Maxey said.
Mike Alverez started the rally with a double. He was thrown out in a rundown on a grounder to third base by Matt Cyran. But Cyran reached third base on the sequence when third baseman Corey Anderson threw wildly into center field trying to throw him out at second base.
After Matt's brother, Jeff, walked, Matt scored on a wild pitch and Jeff went to second base. Jeff Lavis then tripled off the warning track in front of the 410-foot mark, driving in Jeff Cyran. Curt Barnard singled, driving in Lavis, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.
Mark Salerno capped the four-run inning with a home run to left.
Edgewood switched pitchers in the second inning, and the new hurler, Eric Santana, retired the first 11 batters he faced before giving up one run in thefifth inning on a triple by Alverez and a balk.
Hammond added twomore runs in the sixth inning on a single by Lavis, an error, a walk, a balk and a squeeze bunt by Joe Brewer.
"We haven't had a game pitched against us like that all year," Edgewood coach Steve Williamssaid. "He mixed his pitches well and got us on our heels."
Edgewood (17-6), of Harford County, has reached the state 2A finals the past two years and had beaten Fallston and James M. Bennett high schoolsto reach this year's semifinals.
The Bears won the Region II, Class 2A championship to qualify for the state semifinal by beating two Baltimore County teams, Hereford and Patapsco.
The Bears won 8-5 over Hereford (14-5) Saturday. Mike Lerner (8-1) was the winning pitcher, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, six walks and four runs.
In the regional championship Monday, Hammond beat Patapsco, 4-3, behind Jeff Cyran's complete game.
Cyran (2-0) made only his second start of the year because Hammond's scheduled starter, Nestor, was still hurting from a sore right hip. Cyran allowed just five hits (four doubles) and one walk. All three of Patapsco's runs were unearned.