Arundel edges North County, 2-1

May 22, 1994|By Pat O'Malley and Roch Eric Kubatko | Pat O'Malley and Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writers

At Arundel High, coach Bernie Walter and his assistants constantly tell their players to "be a winner" or "be a pro."

Yesterday at Gambrills, senior Brandon Agamennone stepped up to be that winner in the bottom of the eighth inning and hit a two-out single to score courtesy runner Brian Burden from second to lift top-ranked Arundel over No. 15 North County, 2-1.

The 4A East Region semifinal victory allows the top-seeded Wildcats (19-2) to play host to No. 2 seed Old Mill (16-5) at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow.

Fourth-seeded North County finishes its season at 13-8 and 1-2 against the Wildcats, who won in their final at-bat for the fifth time in the past six games.

Arundel got great pitching from starter Wade Rolocut (seven innings, three hits, three walks and four strikeouts) and reliever Jamie Stoddard (6-0), great defensive play and Agamennone's clutch hit to win its 17th in a row.

Stoddard made a sensational diving stop to his left in the sixth to save a run and got the win in relief after retiring the Knights in the top of the eighth.

Sean Fairbanks drew a one-out walk off Knights reliever Tweety Barton in the eighth and courtesy runner Burden moved to second on a grounder to second by Stoddard. Barton went 3-2 on Agamennone before he lined a shot into left. Bob Christopher fielded it on the hop and made a high throw home.

Catcher Mike Saffield reached up for the throw, and Burden just slid under to end it.

"This team lacks the big hitter like we had in Tim Giles last year, but this year's team has seven or eight guys who can go up there and get a big hit," said Agamennone.

North County wasted a superb effort by starter Mike Wooden, who had not pitched since May 2 due to a sprained muscle in his back. He came out after 87 pitches and seven strong innings. Wooden gave up four hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Wooden's teammates got him a run in the fourth when Steve Tomshack tripled past a diving Tony Costanzo in left and came home on Christopher's sac fly to center.

Arundel answered with Rolocut getting his second hit, a triple to center, and scoring on Jeff Hedrick's bad-hop single over third baseman Matt Lentz, who was part of a drawn-up infield with no outs. Wooden got out of the inning without further trouble by striking out J. P. Noon and Kevyn Dodson.

The Wildcats did not threaten again until the eighth.

"Mike wanted to go back out there in the eighth, but I didn't want to take any chances of him getting hurt again," said North County coach Don Usewick.

* Old Mill 9, Severna Park 2: Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery appeared to have a tough decision to make before yesterday's game.

Which of his three senior pitchers would be given the assignment of trying to shut down a Severna Park offense that batted .382 and had scored in double-figures nine times -- both school records?

He selected right-hander Ken Pumphrey, the staff's ace who had been rocked by the Falcons in a 13-1 loss on May 5. It proved to be a wise choice. And, as Montgomery said later, a fairly routine one.

Pumphrey allowed two hits and one earned run, as No. 4-ranked and No. 2 seed Old Mill (16-5) advanced to the Class 4A East Region final with a 9-2 victory over the third-seeded Falcons.

Unlike the last time, Pumphrey was in command against the No. 10 Falcons (12-7). He gave up singles to Shane Norgard and Mike Fleming in the fifth, resulting in their second run. They had scored once in the fourth on two-out error.

"I've always felt in the region playoffs that you've got to go with your best pitcher on the first day," said Montgomery. "You've got to get to the next day. I don't think it was a hard decision to make."

Said Pumphrey (7-2), who walked five and struck out eight: "I changed speeds better. I knew the people who could hit on the team, and I knew what pitches they couldn't hit."

Old Mill collected 11 hits off three Severna Park pitchers. Jim Greer (2-for-3 with a walk) knocked in three runs, Ryan Wood (2-for-4) singled in two, and Mike Longazel (2-for-4) and Mike Bussey each had an RBI. Brian Bogle went 2-for-4, and Pumphrey reached base three times.

Old Mill scored four runs in the third inning, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth. With Pumphrey on the mound, that was more than enough.

"He had command of his breaking ball. He had an outstanding curveball today," said Falcons coach Jim Pitt. "Today, I think he could have beaten anybody."

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