Arundel clinches top East seed

May 12, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

Mike Bussey sat with his head propped up in his hands staring into space. His sullen look said it all.

No. 4 Old Mill (14-5 overall, 13-4 in games that count toward the playoffs) had just lost another tough game to archrival Arundel by 6-1.

With the win, the No. 2 Wildcats (17-2, 16-1) clinched the top seed in the East Region playoffs and won another Anne Arundel County championship.

Old Mill and Severna Park are vying for second and third seed. It all comes down to Old Mill's final game today against Glen Burnie, and the Severna Park at Arundel game at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow .

It was Arundel's fourth victory in five outings with the Patriots over the last two years, and the fifth in seven games over three years. For Bussey and the Patriots seniors, the Wildcats have gone 8-2 against Old Mill in the last four years.

"It's pretty bad because we know we can beat them, but we just don't," said Bussey (3-2), who went the distance yesterday despite giving up six runs on 11 hits, two of them homers. "It's real frustrating."

Even more frustrated was Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery, whose team hasn't had an edge on Arundel since 1990 when it went 2-1 and finished as a state runner-up.

"It's pretty frustrating not to play your best ball game when you should have," said Montgomery. "We played like it was the first game of the season."

Montgomery was referring to a couple of balls that should have been caught and two costly base running mistakes that took his team out of scoring opportunities in the fourth and seventh innings.

Courtesy runner Tim McGurk was caught rounding third with two outs in the fourth and the ball in the middle of the infield.

Second baseman Casey Trout alertly nabbed McGurk after dropping a force out. Trout's heads-up play got the Wildcats out of a bases-loaded situation.

In the seventh, with two outs, the bases loaded and cleanup hitter Ryan Wood, who had doubled and scored on Jeff Haynie's second hit in the sixth, at bat, another base running blunder killed the Patriots. Senior Jimmy Greer was picked off first base by catcher J. P. Noon on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

In contrast, Arundel played the way a contender is supposed to play approaching postseason. The Wildcats had not been hitting consistently over the last few games but kept winning with timely hitting.

Sean Fairbanks' two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh was the Wildcats' only hit in a 5-3 win over Chesapeake last Thursday and Noon's two-run homer in the top of the eighth keyed a 7-4 win over Severna Park the next day.

Monday Brandon Agamennone's two-out grand slam in the bottom of the sixth lifted the Wildcats over Glen Burnie, 10-8.

Yesterday, the bats were lively all seven innings and it made things easier for their ace, Agamennone (7-2), who scattered eight hits. Noon hit a homer in the second and was 3-for-4 along with Wade Rolocut, who homered in the top of the seventh.

Jeff Hedrick doubled in Rolocut from first base in the third after Casey Trout had doubled, stole third and raced home on an errant throw by catcher Mike Longazel in the second.

Arundel made it 5-0 in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Trout and Tony Costanzo's towering double that hit the top of the fence in left-center.

"We have refocused on our hitting after going through a bit of a slump, but it's been our history to struggle this time of the year and get it back just in time for the playoffs," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter.

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