Perry Hall is unbeaten (19-0), a victory away from a third straight trip to the state Class 4A baseball championship game, and no one is more surprised than Perry Hall coach Larry Butts.
Butts lost the nucleus of his team from the previous two years -- Roy Marsh, Kevin Loewe and Donnie Burks -- to graduation. They led the Gators to the state title in 1990 and the runner-up spot last year.
"This team doesn't have anyone that can go out and carry a team," said Butts, whose club will play Northern of Calvert County in a 4 p.m. semifinal today at Joe Cannon Stadium. "It seems like everybody chips in. It's a different guy each game."
Butts is the first to say that the Gators, who moved into the area's No. 1 spot this week for the first time this season, have benefited from a down year in the Baltimore County 4A/3A classification. He also says the Gators have been lucky.
Saturday's 10-inning, 6-5 win over Dulaney in the regional semifinal was a good example. The Gators trailed 5-4 with one out. Andy Hudak singled, then scored when Bobby Trzeciak singled and advanced to third on a two-base error. Jeff Burrows scored Trzeciak with a suicide squeeze for the game-winning run.
It hasn't all been luck. The Gators have been getting solid performances from several players. Catcher Joe Basiaga has driven in 22 runs. First baseman John Pfeifer is batting .424 with 20 RBI. Second baseman Burrows is batting .379 with 18 RBI. Third baseman Craig Bevans is batting .388 with 12 RBI. Starters Dan Brown (8-0) and Hudak (6-0) haven't lost a game.
Notable performances last week: Baseball -- Arundel's Brian Rolocut picked up two wins over Broadneck in two pivotal games. He pitched six innings and struck out 13 in a 7-3 win, as the Wildcats clinched the Anne Arundel Bay Division title. He also beat the Bruins, 9-1, pitching the complete game and striking out 12 in a state playoff game. In the two games, he was a combined 4-for-12 with a double, two triples, scored two runs and had three RBI. . . . McDonogh's Kenny Cloude led the Eagles to two wins in the MSA A Conference tournament to advance to the championship game. In an 11-7 win over Mount St. Joseph, Cloude pitched the complete game and was 2-for-4 with two RBI. In an 18-8 win over Calvert Hall, he was 6-for-6 with six RBI. . . . Dulaney's Paul Underwood pitched a no-hitter in the Lions' 18-0 state playoff win, facing 24 batters, striking out 14 and walking none. He also pitched the final three innings of the Lions' extra-inning, 6-5 loss to Perry Hall that eliminated Dulaney from the state playoffs.
Softball -- Chesapeake-Anne Arundel's Lori Congdon won four games to help the Cougars reach the state semifinals. She pitched 28 innings, struck out 45, allowed two earned runs and walked one. She pitched a no-hitter in a 6-0 win over Arundel. . . . Havre de Grace's Colleen Grady helped her team win three of its last four games as she went 11-for-16 with four home runs, three doubles, one triple and 14 RBI. . . . Aberdeen's Rachel Cassady pitched four games, as the Eagles won their final two regular-season contests and two playoff games to advance to the state semifinals. Cassady struck out 40 and allowed nine hits and three earned runs. She also had three doubles, two triples and eight RBI.
Tennis -- Beth Tfiloh's David Lowenstein captured the MSA B Conference No. 1 singles titles with straight-set victories in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. He completed the season with a 21-0 singles record.
Track and field -- Hammond's Kisha Jett captured four gold medals at the state Class 2A, Region II meet. She won the 100, 200, 400 and long jump. . . . Western's Dionne Smith led the Doves, as they won the City-Wide championship meet. Smith won the 100 and 200 and ran on the winning 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
It takes a thief: Mercy's Jackie Kisnick recently completed another perfect season of stealing bases for the Mercy softball team.
During her three-year varsity career, Kisnick is 57-for-57. This season, she was 22-for-22. She was 26-for-26 as a junior and 9-for-9 as a sophomore. She was also perfect during her one junior varsity season in 36 attempts.