FREDERICK -- Dan Brown was easily the most valuable -- and most popular -- player for Perry Hall last night.
Brown pitched the Gators to the Class 4A baseball championship, stopping Gaithersburg on two hits and striking out nine en route to a 7-1 victory that completed Perry Hall's 21-0 season.
Brown then invited his teammates to a late-night party at his house, where they were to gather after the bus ride back to Perry Hall.
"I'm the captain, so I should give the party," said Brown. "These guys are great. We were a little nervous at first but everybody settled down after the first inning" after two errors gave Gaithersburg a 1-0 lead.
It was the second 4A title in the past three seasons for Perry Hall, and the second unbeaten season in the past three.
Perry Hall was 20-0 in 1990, when it won the 4A championship, then went 17-3 last season, when it lost in the state finals.
Brown, who transferred from Gilman during his junior year, was 10-0 this season.
"I didn't have my breaking pitch until the fourth inning," he said. "After that, I just wanted to make them hit the ball. I have three pitches -- fastball, curve and a split-finger -- and I was getting them all over tonight."
Brown said his teammates took a lot of pressure off him by scoring six runs in the second inning for a 6-1 lead.
Perry Hall coach Larry Butts said he knew Brown was in for a good game when he "was throwing strikes early. Our guys were a little shaky in the first, but everything worked out OK."
Butts said the recreation baseball program in the Perry Hall area has been primarily responsible for the school's success.
"Plus we have some good assistant coaches in Elmer McCann and Tom Schaefer," said Butts.
"I knew Gaithersburg had a good leadoff hitter [Eric Frazier], and their third and fourth hitters [Andrew Walter and Ron Henson] had some power. Those were our concerns."
Frazier was the only one to hurt the Gators. He walked to lead off the game, stole second and scored on an error by Perry Hall second baseman Jeff Burrows.
Perry Hall needed only four hits to score six runs in the second inning, as Gaithersburg starting pitcher Bill Demory suffered control problems, walking three.
The big hit for Perry Hall in the inning was a bases-loaded single up the middle by Bob Trzeciak that scored two runs to send the Gators ahead, 3-1, and chase Demory.
Left-hander Joey Spevak replaced Demory with one out, but he couldn't stop the Gators.
Burrows drove in the fourth run for Perry Hall on a ground out to second, Spevak balked in the fifth run, and John Pfeifer drove in the sixth run with a booming double to left-center field.