Arundel High baseball coach Bernie Walter long has been considered one of the area's top coaches. Now the record book will attest to that.
Saturday night, when his team defeated Perry Hall, 8-1, in the Class 4A championship game at McCurdy Field in Frederick, Walter became Maryland's only active coach to win five state titles.
Walter began the season tied at four with Mel Bacon of North East of Cecil County. The Wildcats were figured to finish second to Old Mill in Anne Arundel County's 4A league but far exceeded those expectations.
"I've coached a lot of really good teams, and a few state champions, and each was great in its own way," said Walter, whose teams won titles in 1976, 1977, 1981 and 1987. "I don't want to say this was my best team ever, but this team was certainly the most balanced we've ever had. This team had the hitting, solid pitching, good defense and very good base-running."
Arundel (20-4) showcased those talents in the championship game, denying Perry Hall (17-3) a second straight state title.
Junior left-hander Zach Collins pitched a complete game for the Wildcats, improving his season record to 8-1. He struck out nine, allowed four hits, yielded one walk and hit one batter. He held Perry Hall's outstanding trio of Roy Marsh, Kevin Loewe and Donnie Burks to two hits -- both by Loewe -- and a walk in nine at-bats.
"Collins has learned how to pitch in big ballgames. He showed that today," said Walter.
Loewe, a senior left-hander who had not lost in eight decisions this season, gave up 10 hits, including five for extra bases.
Arundel designated hitter Larry Dobson doubled, tripled and drove in three runs, and shortstop Scott Young had two singles and two RBI.
"I wasn't spotting my pitches very well today," Loewe said. "They have tough hitters all through their lineup, and they took advantage of that."
Dobson's two-run double in the top of the first was all the scoring the Wildcats needed. Arundel added single runs in the third and fifth to build a 4-0 lead before Perry Hall got its run in the fifth -- Joe Basiaga led off with a double, advanced to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch. But the Wildcats came back with three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to build a comfortable margin.
Anne Arundel County teams were 2-for-2 in the state championship games Saturday at McCurdy. In the Class 2A title game earlier in the day, Northeast beat Hammond, 15-3, to complete a 24-0 season.
Arundel 201 013 1 -- 8 10 1
Perry Hall 000 010 0 -- 1 4 3
Collins and Oldfather; Loewe and Basiaga. 2B: A--Dobson, Oldfather; PH--Basiaga. 3B: A--Trout, Crews, Dobson.