A season filled with frustrating losses continued Thursday night forthe Columbia Reds' No. 1 baseball team when it was eliminated from the Continental Amateur Baseball Association state tournament.
Columbia lost to Anne Arundel Connie Mack, 11-8, at Saw Mill Park in GlenBurnie.
The Reds carried a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, only to see Anne Arundel produce a nine-run fifth inning led by CraigEverett's grand slam.
For the Reds, it was the second loss in thedouble-elimination tournament, which began Monday with the Reds losing, 2-1, to the same team.
In the first game, Connie Mack's Jerry Fischer stopped the Reds on a two-hitter, overshadowing a four-hitterby the Reds' Jason Mills.
Columbia scored its only run off Fischer -- one of the top high school players in the area for Southern of Baltimore -- in the second inning on an RBI single by Brian Van Deusen, who went 6-for-9 during the tournament.
Columbia's only win camein a 15-13 slugfest over Fallston Wednesday in which six Columbia players had at least two hits. They included Matt Donovan (3-for-3), Jeff Cyran (2-for-4), Travis Williams (2-for-3), Bobby Caswell (2-for-4), Brian Lopez (2-for-4) and Van Deusen (3-for-4).
The Reds scoredfive runs in the first inning, three in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth and led 15-9 going into the final inning.
"Brian Van Deusen saved that game at second base with a great backhanded catch on a ball hit up the middle that looked like it would drive in two runs and tie the game," Reds manager Larry Thompson said.
In Thursday's game, Howard County Sun Player of the Year Joe Nestorpitched fairly well through the first four innings.
He allowed four hits and two runs against a team loaded with five starters from Northeast High, the Class 2A state champion and a team considered by many to be the Baltimore area's best ever.
Nestor, who faced Northeast twice last spring, including the Class 2A state title game, tired in the nine-run fifth inning Thursday when Anne Arundel pounded sevenhits and got three walks.
Everett hit a grand slam and a triple in the fifth inning. The grand slam, despite a fence-crashing effort by Reds center fielder Lopez, came off relief pitcher Andy Young on a 3-and-0 pitch.
Chad O'Brien, another Northeast player, banged two singles that inning for Anne Arundel.
"It was my fault," Thompson said. "I left Nestor in too long."
The Reds scored five times in the third inning on three walks, two singles, a home run and a three-base Anne Arundel error.
Caswell hit a solo homer, his second homerof the tournament. And Williams singled with the bases loaded and came all the way home on a three-base error by the left fielder.
TheReds scored three more runs in the sixth inning on singles by Van Deusen and Miller and a double by Cyran, but it was not enough.
Cyran was 3-for-4 and scored twice as the Reds' leadoff batter Thursday. He was 5-for-11 with two doubles for the tournament.
"It's hard totake this losing. I got used to winning last spring," said Cyran, who played for county champion Hammond High and was the Howard County Sun's first-team all-county shortstop.
Hammond (19-5) also won its region and was only the fourth team in county history to make it to the state championship game.
The Reds, who have hovered around the .500 mark most of the summer, have three of the top players from Hammond's team -- Nestor, Cyran and Mike Lerner.
The Reds, 13-17 in league play, carried high expectations into their second season of Baltimore Metro League competition but have failed to live up to them.
This week's tournament turned out to be just another in a string of disappointments for the team.
"I've been a little too hard on themin pushing them to win and maybe that's why we haven't done as well," Thompson said. "But there wasn't a better team than us in the tournament, and it's a great bunch of guys to be around."
The Reds havenine league games remaining.