Staying alive. That was Dayton's main worry as it won a second-round National Amateur Baseball Federation regional baseball game Thursday.
The 16-and-under Raiders lost their first-round game earlier that day in the double-elimination tourney to the Bonnie Rockets of Brooklyn, N.Y., 6-2.
Coach Bill Mellendick said a week with no games leading into the tournament hurt Dayton.
"We were flat in the first game and gave up 10 hits, while getting just five ourselves," he said.
To beat the Glen Burnie Patriots, 8-4, Dayton depended on the bottom third of its batting order, which produced six of Dayton's nine hits.
Kevin Curtin and Dave Hudson, batting eighth and ninth, respectively, each banged two hits. Jason Babcock and Curtis Mitchel, who shared the No. 7 spot, each had one hit. The quartet drove in four runs.
Joe Mellendick, Matt Morraye and Greg Hylock had the other hits as two of Dayton's big guns, Brian Boteler (.409) and Mike Cudzilo (.370), went hitless.
Cudzilo, 8-3 this season, started for Dayton and pitched a no-hit shutout through four innings at Saw Mill Park in Anne Arundel County. The Raiders, meanwhile, chipped away at Glen Burnie with at least one run in every inning except the first, and built a 5-0 lead through 4 1/2 innings before Cudzilo tired.
Pitching and defense have been Dayton's hallmarks during this 24-14 season, but both fell apart in the bottom of the fifth inning. Glen Burnie's lead-off batter struck out, but reached first base on a dropped pitch and an errant throw by catcher Curtin.
The next batter reached first on an error by third baseman Hudson, who already had made several good defensive plays. Those errors created a big hole for Cudzilo, who gave up base hits to three of the next four batters. When the inning ended, Dayton's lead was reduced to 5-3.
Dayton added a sixth run in the sixth on two singles and a !B sacrifice fly. Dayton survived a nerve-racking bottom of the sixth without giving up a run, thanks to poor Glen Burnie base running and a big strikeout by relief pitcher Ryan McGonnigal.
Cudzilo left the mound after giving up a lead-off double, and McGonnigal replaced him. McGonnigal's first batter grounded to shortstop Boteler, and it turned into a double play when first baseman Hylock threw out Jason White attempting to go to third.
McGonnigal then gave up a double and a walk before getting a strikeout on a beautiful curveball to end the inning.
Dayton added two more runs in the seventh on a two-out rally. Mitchel singled, Curtin singled and Hudson doubled both runs home.
Glen Burnie threw another scare into Dayton in the seventh as three of the first four batters reached first base on a walk, a single and an error.
But the Patriots scored only one run, as McGonnigal fanned the final two batters amid lightning and thunder. The game ended just as a rainstorm hit.
Dayton picked up three players from the Columbia Reds for the tournament, including McGonnigal, Matt Noon and Shane Beaver, all pitchers.
"It's nice to have extra pitching help for a tournament," Mellendick said.
Curt Weitzel, who pitched the first game for Dayton, missed most of the season with a broken wrist. Boteler led the team in most batting categories this year, including 17 extra-base hits.
Dayton was scheduled to play again Friday after press time. Another loss before the end of the tournament today would eliminate the team.