It takes only two words to describe why Calvert Hall is a champion again: Brian Matz.
Matz threw his second two-hitter in four days against McDonogh, and Adam Roberts drove in the winning run with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly as No. 2 Calvert Hall defeated the No. 3 Eagles, 3-2, yesterday at Gilman to capture the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championship.
Calvert Hall, which has won five MSA A Conference titles in six years, finished 21-4. McDonogh, which defeated Calvert Hall for last year's title, is 15-5.
Matz worked hard to help the Cardinals win the title, throwing 104 pitches in Friday's 3-1 victory and 112 yesterday. His statistics for the two games: 14 innings, four hits, three runs (none earned) and 12 strikeouts.
"He's a competitor," said Calvert Hall coach Joe Binder. "He has led us through these two victories."
Matz and Binder decided on Sunday that, as long as the left-hander felt fine, he would pitch this game. And, after his weekend workouts, Matz told the coach he could pitch.
"Win or lose, I wanted this game," said Matz. "We wanted them bad."
Matz did not dominate as he did on Friday, when he struck out eight. Yesterday, he struck out four, and the Eagles hit a few balls hard -- but right at someone.
Matz grew stronger as the game progressed. He retired nine of the final 11 and allowed only three balls out of the infield in the last five innings.
"In the beginning, I was wild with my fastball," said Matz. "I seemed to get in the strike zone more toward the end of the game."
McDonogh scored two unearned runs in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. The Cardinals made two errors on successive plays that brought in the McDonogh runs. In the bottom half, Calvert Hall scored a run on an error and another on a wild pitch.
Both pitchers settled down after the shaky starts. Mike Ginsberg allowed only two hits after the first, but one came in the fourth when Tim Pilarski singled to lead off.
Pilarski went to second when Jason Dean reached on an error. Liam Healy moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt.
Roberts followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Pilarski with the winning run.
"It was definitely a fastball," said Roberts. "I was just trying to hit the ball and drive in the run."
Ginsberg pitched a strong game for McDonogh. Mixing a fastball and slip pitch, he surrendered only five hits and struck out three.
"I came out nervous, and that made me flat," said Ginsberg. "I grew stronger [after that]. I bore down."
McDonogh coach Al Poklemba said he never thought of starting top pitcher Kenny Cloude again as he did on Friday. Poklemba told Ginsberg he wanted five good innings, but the pitcher went the distance.
McDonogh is a young team, and Poklemba said the mistakes were the youth showing through. "I've got young kids, and I've kept them loose all season," said Poklemba. "In certain situations, we made some mistakes. They just had one more run."
Binder said each of the championships is enjoyable, but this one was sweet because McDonogh took the title away last year.
"[The championships] are all special," said Binder. "It's just a great feeling."