Atholton coach Kevin Kelly said he didn't know until game time whether sophomore shortstop Jason Sandner would be able to play.
"He told me that he felt something pop in his arm two days ago against Howard and we practiced yesterday [Thursday] with someone else at shortstop," Kelly said.
As it turned out, a relay throw by Sandner was the key play in yesterday's 1-0 Atholton win that preserved the Raiders' county championship hopes. Atholton is 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the league.
The throw nipped Mount Hebron's Matt Driscoll at the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning as Driscoll tried to score on Mark Jensen's one-out double to center field.
Atholton starter Shane Beaver then struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Beaver, a senior right-hander who had pitched only three innings this season because of a sore shoulder, was impressive during his six-inning stint.
He allowed four hits, struck out five, walked one and made Mount Hebron's batters hit nine ground balls for outs by feeding them a steady diet of low fastballs clocked in the 83-to-86-mph range.
Three scouts held timing guns on Beaver, who threw 96 pitches in his second start of the season.
"I was able to keep the ball low where I wanted it and our defense played great today," Beaver said.
Mount Hebron (6-5, 3-3) has struggled offensively for the past eight days. The Vikings have scored a total of four runs while losing four straight games.
The Vikings wasted a superbly pitched game by Mike Cudzilo, who allowed one hit and walked one while striking out eight.
The one hit, however, was a second-inning home run by Derrek Schneider, who drove a low curveball about 320 feet over the left-field fence.
L "It wasn't a bad pitch but he just sat on it," Cudzilo said.
It was the third homer of the year for Schneider, who is batting bTC .425. He also reached base on an error in the fifth inning and a walk in the seventh inning.
L Cudzilo (4-2) faced only 24 batters, three over the minimum.