A couple of unlikely junior pitching heroes stole the spotlight yesterday as No. 2 Old Mill and No. 10 Chesapeake-AA battled to a 6-6 tie called for darkness after seven innings.
It rained practically all seven innings. The two teams hope to finish the game at noon today at Old Mill.
In what was the season opener for both Class 4A teams, sterling relief efforts by junior right-handers Tim McGuirk of Old Mill and Randy Clifford of Chesapeake prevented a final verdict.
Chesapeake took a 5-0 lead in the second inning highlighted by junior Billy Dierker's grand slam. The host Patriots pecked away until they tied it and went ahead 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth.
Jason White's clutch, line-shot triple down the right-field line off reliever Mike Bussey with two outs in the top of the seventh scored Dierker from first base with the tying run.
Old Mill went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
Ken Pumphrey, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, started for Old Mill. He survived a first-inning jam, but got nailed in the second inning.
Cougar center fielder and leadoff man Brian Doyle singled to score the first run, and after Pumphrey struck out Matt Michalowicz, Dierker unloaded a towering shot over the fence in left center for a grand slam.
Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery removed Pumphrey after the grand slam and brought in McGuirk, a JV grad who would keep his team in the game until it could catch up. McGuirk retired 10 Cougars in a row before DH Brian Grieb singled to lead off the sixth.
While McGuirk (3 1/3 innings, one hit, one strikeout, no walks, no runs) was mowing down the Cougars, his mates were chipping away at White. The Cougar ace, a returning All-County left-hander, finally ran out of gas in the sixth.
Old Mill touched White (5 1/3 innings, five hits, five strikeouts, seven walks, six runs) for two runs in the second on a double by Ryan Wood and RBIs from Jeff Haynie and Mike Longazel.
White walked the first three batters (first thrown out stealing by Falcon) in the last of the sixth and coach Jim Simms brought in Clifford. Clifford (1 2/3 innings, no hits, no runs, one walk) walked Andrew Lewis to load the bases.
Dierker couldn't handle Greer's ground smash and the score was tied at five. Wood's fielder's choice scored Barnes with the go-ahead run. Clifford got Bussey on a fly ball to end the inning.
Bussey came on in the top of the seventh, but failed to close it after getting the first two hitters.