It truly was a magical day for the Arundel High baseball team.
The Wildcats saw their lead disappear and their starting pitcher reappear. And with one wave of his bat, Tim Giles changed their fortunes.
Giles singled in the bottom of the seventh inning to score Mike Fairbanks from second base with the winning run, as the host Wildcats defeated Northeast, 4-3, in a Bay Division game between defending state champions.
Arundel, which claimed the Class 4A title last spring, took a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh. But Northeast, winnerof the 2A championship, pushed across two runs with two outs on a bases-loaded walk and an error.
Fairbanks then doubled off reliever Randy Thomas to open the bottom half of the inning, and after an intentional walk, Northeast coach Harry Lentz summoned senior right-hander Derek Dolch to pitch to Giles.
Giles, a left-handed batter who had walked and grounded out twice, lined a 1-0 pitch into left field, and Fairbanks scored easily.
Arundel improved to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in the division. Northeast is 1-1 and 1-1.
The dramatic single made a winner of senior right-hander Brian Rolocut (2-0), who allowedjust one hit, walked seven (three in the seventh), and struck out 14. He threw 133 pitches.
"He got a little tired, but he was outstanding," Walter said. "He's got an outstanding fastball and a good (curveball) and real good command of his pitches."
Walter removed Rolocut with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh. Reliever Brandon Agamennone allowed a Wayne Hudson single to center that loaded the bases, and Rolocut moved back to the mound and struck out Chad O'Brien on three pitches.
But Joe Hoyer drew a walk to force in a run that reduced the lead to 3-2, and third baseman Chris Durocher bobbled a Rich Spiegel grounder that tied the score. Dolch then popped up to first to end the rally and set up the exciting finish.
Durocher had given Arundel a 3-0 lead with an RBI single in the third, and Rolocut didn't allow a hit until the sixth. Hoyer poked a one-out double to right-center that scored O'Brien, who had reached on a throwing error.
Rolocut "moved the ball around real well and he changed speeds real well," said Lentz, whose team defeated Arundel last year, 14-4. "He kept us off balance."
Seven Northeast batters wentdown on called third strikes. Every Eagle struck out at least once except Spiegel.
"I kept telling them was he was coming in with the fastball for the first pitch and we've got to jump on that," Lentz said.
Instead, Arundel jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a wild pitch and an error. Senior Tre Overstreet had the only hit of the inning when he led off with a single to center.
Northeast right-hander Chris Kelly, a junior making his first varsity start, went 5 2/3innings and allowed eight hits and two earned runs. He also walked five and struck out two.
"I thought he threw well," Lentz said. "Wehad chances to win it, we just didn't capitalize on them."
Arundel's Fairbanks, Mike Cozzone and Jeff Hedrick each had two hits. Durocher reached base three times with a single and two walks, and Rolocut, Giles and Overstreet each singled and walked.
Walter's only realdispleasure was with his team's base-running. Two Wildcats were picked off first, another was struck by a batted ball while running to third, and another was thrown out trying to steal third.