Centennial's disappointment at losing to Glenelg, 4-3, at home yesterday in the continuation of a suspended baseball game was eased somewhat by winning the nightcap, 4-3.
But the Eagles had their rough spots in the finale: Glenelg pitcher Sean Lookingbill retired 10 of the first 11 batters, six on strikeouts.
Twice, Centennial recovered from one-run deficits, and Brent Mertes' two-out single in the bottom of the sixth scored Kevin O'Connor, snapping a tie.
In winning, Centennial refused to let No. 11 Glenelg (7-3, 7-1), holders of first place in the county, pull away for a county title. Instead, the Eagles (5-4, 5-2) tightened the race.
While concerned about the county title, Centennial coach Ron Martin is more interested in the Class 3A, Region III playoffs.
"If we'd have lost both of them, we'd have had to go undefeated [to make regionals]," he said.
"". . . Every loss we've had has either been by one run or extra innings. We're in every ball game. We had to believe that eventually something would turn our way."
Thus far, pitching has been Centennial's strength, most notably right-handers Dave Hudson and Kurt Weitzel. Hudson started and pitched five innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Weitzel entered in the top of the sixth with the score 3-3. He retired six of seven batters and earned the win.
"When I was warming up, I probably felt the best I've ever felt," said Weitzel (3-2).
Glenelg took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With no outs and the bases loaded, Mike Goldberg's sacrifice fly scored Matt Morraye.
The lead held until the bottom of the fourth. Continuing to look nearly invincible, Lookingbill began the inning, striking out Jason Babcock to maintain the no-hitter. But Weitzel ended the drought with an infield single. Next, third baseman Brian Boteler's double error on the same play put Chris Forstner on first and Weitzel on third.
Glenelg's bunting nightmare began when Lookingbill bobbled O'Connor's suicide squeeze, scoring Weitzel. Forstner later scored for a 2-1 game.
After the Gladiators recaptured the lead on runs by Lookingbill and Jamie Brinker in the fifth, Centennial tied it in the bottom half. A throw by catcher Kevin Curtin to nail a stealing Joe Mellendick at third sailed high, allowing Mellendick to score.
After Mertes knocked home O'Connor with the winning run, Weitzel retired pinch-hitter Mike Deming, Brinker and Morraye -- in order -- for the victory.
"I felt pretty good, but I felt a little tired at the end and lost a little velocity on my fastball," said Lookingbill (3-1), who went the distance. "They caught up with it."
Mertes was one who did, for "I was waiting for a fastball," he said of his winning hit.