Diving to his left for a one-out liner off the bat of Broadneck's Terry Williams, Northeast shortstop Joe Hoyer disappeared in a cloud ofdust behind second base.
Suddenly, he thrust up his right arm andflicked the ball to second baseman K. C. Murphy, who tagged out leadrunner Clif McClain, then turned and fired the ball to first basemanScott Rey for the double play.
That's the kind of down-and-dirty effort the Eagles needed to getby visiting Broadneck, 2-1, in yesterday's Bay Division baseball game.
"I just flipped it, and K. C. was spectacular. That was the icing on the cake," said Hoyer, a senior. "We haven't been putting up the numbers, so our defense has had to play heads-up ball."
Last year, Class 2A state champion Northeast went 24-0, winning on sheer batting power, superior pitching and flawless fielding. Most of its games, like the 14-4 victory over eventual Class 4A state champion Arundel, seemed over long before the final inning.
But this year's 4-2 squad has had to work hard in each of its games -- including 4-3 lossesto Old Mill and Arundel. And yesterday's game was no different.
Junior hurler Wayne Hudson, pitching in the shadow of last year's All-County first-teamer Charlie Buckheit (a county-record 30 career victories), watched Broadneck's lead-off batter, Jeff Vincent, blast the second pitch of the game over the center-field fence.
"I thought itwas over right there," said Hudson, who scattered seven hits, seven strikeouts and three walks in six innings. He was relieved by senior Derek Dolch in the top of the seventh, after a leadoff double by MattWeimer.
"I just paid attention to (catcher Rich Spiegel's) calls.The curve was working pretty well."
For 4 1/2 innings, right-hander Weimer (three strikeouts, four hits, four walks) kept the home-standing Eagles off balance. But as they have in their victories over North County, 10-9, Glen Burnie, 7-6, and Meade, 5-2, the Eagles found a way to win -- even if they got a little lucky.
In the bottom of the fifth, Northeast's Chad O'Brien reached on an error, took second on a walk, went to third on a fielder's choice and scored the tying run when third baseman McClain bobbled Dolch's high chopper.
In thesixth, O'Brien's bad-hop single cleared second baseman Williams, andHudson scored the winning run from second base.
Broadneck (3-2) botched three chances to build on its early lead. With two men on and one out in the second, Vincent struck out and Todd Bramble grounded out. Vincent whiffed again with two outs and two men on in the fourth.And with the bases loaded in the fifth, Broadneck's Larry Kryzyzaniak hit into a fielder's choice for the third out.
"In a game like this, you can't make those kinds of mistakes," said Broadneck coach Mark Stover. "We got timely hitting and fielding (in an 8-4 win over Chesapeake Tuesday). Today, we didn't."
Stover wants to avoid a repeat of last year, when his ballclub missed the playoffs by a game. A game against North County, which was suspended after six innings with Broadneck leading 10-3, has been ruled a Bruins victory.
Another suspended game against Annapolis will be resumed today, with the Bruins up, 20-7, in the top of third. Bruins' batter Tim Collins faces a 2-0 count with two outs and the bases loaded.
A postponed game withQueen Anne's has been rescheduled. Among their remaining games, the Bruins have two meetings against Arundel, another game against Northeast and still another against Old Mill.