Perry Hall rallies to overtake No. 1 Arundel for title, 5-2

May 28, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

An uncharacteristic collapse by top-ranked Arundel (21-3) opened the gates for a determined No. 4-ranked Perry Hall and the Gators rushed in to win their third state 4A title since 1990.

Down 2-0 going into the top of the seventh, Perry Hall (19-3) tied the game and then upset the Wildcats, 5-2, in eight innings at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.

Since the '90s decade began, Arundel and Perry Hall have been the state's most dominant teams in Class 4A, trading championships every other year. Each came into last night's final with two state titles since 1990.

Perry Hall won in 1990 (20-0) and '92 (21-0) while Arundel won in 1991 (20-4) and '93 (21-1). The Gators lost the '91 final to the Wildcats, 8-1, and Arundel was a state semifinalist in '92.

In the first five years of the '90s, Perry Hall has gone 94-8 while Arundel is 96-19, including last night's result.

All season long, Arundel, seeking a record seventh state title and its first back-to-back crown since 1976-77, had appeared to be one of those "teams of destiny."

Just when it looked like it was out, it would find a way to win and did in its final at-bat seven of the last eight games before last night.

Coaches love to say it's better to be lucky than good, and this '94 Arundel edition was arguably the luckiest in their history. Nothing lucky happened for Arundel with the game on the line last night.

Ace Brandon Agamennone pitched six strong innings and left with a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats had scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings off Perry Hall starter and winner Jesse Moore (11-0).

Jamie Stoddard's sacrifice fly scored the first run and Kevyn Dodson's hit-and-run single in the sixth made it 2-0.

Agamennone had met the maximum state rules of 14 innings in seven days and had to come out, giving way to the team's top fireman in Stoddard.

Stoddard hit Jason Essel to start the seventh and after striking out Kevin Zhamirowski, gave up a single to Ryan Burks. Chris Ude then went down looking with runners on first and second.

Jim Stopper singled to right and Essel was about to stop at third, but Dodson let the ball go through his legs all the way to the fence.

Affer going back to touch third after missing it, Essel hurried home with Burks breathing down his back to tie the game at two. Stoddard got the next man and Arundel came to bat.

In Moore's last inning (he pitched all seven in Tuesday's 5-2 win over Bowie), the Wildcats failed to score with Agamennone thrown out stealing for the final out.

Brian Smetana led off the top of the eighth with a single to left and Stoddard made a bad decision going to second on Tom Trimble's sacrifice bunt. Both runners were safe and the bases were loaded when the speedy Mandell Marsh dropped a bunt toward third that Stoddard had no play on.

Jason Essel blooped a 2-2 pitch over first base into short right field with Smetana and courtesy runner Brian Doherty scoring to make it 4-2.

With Zhamirowski batting, Marsh and Essel took off on a double steal and catcher Sean Fairbanks threw the ball into center field with nobody covering second.

Marsh easily scored and Essel would be thrown out at home after an overthrow at third.

Junior lefty Brian Ash came on in the bottom of the eighth and got Casey Trout to ground to Zhamirowski at short with two outs and two on to give the Gators the state title.

"It was really disappointing to get that close and not win it," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter.

Perry Hall had the game's first scoring opportunity in its initial at-bat. Marsh, the Gators' leadoff hitter, singled to left to start the game.

Marsh had second base stolen, but the plate umpire ruled that Essel had stepped over the plate swinging and interfered with catcher Sean Fairbanks. Marsh was called out and Essel struck out. Agamennone then got Zhamirowski to ground out.

Arundel did not threaten until the third when Agamennone walked and Wade Rolocut singled to left on a hit and run with two outs and courtesy runner Eric Lundborg took third as left fielder Jim Stopper's throw went over the third baseman's head.

Rolocut took second on the overthrow bringing up No. 3 hitter Jeff Hedrick. Moore went 1-2 on Hedrick and struck him out looking on a fast ball to end the threat.

In the fourth, J.P. Noon launched a deep drive to right center that Marsh ran down and dropped for a two-base error in the fourth. Pinch runner Kevin Lancaster stayed at second when Dodson grounded out to short, but attempted to steal third with Casey Trout up.

Gator catcher Tom Trimble cut Lanscaster down with a high, but hard, throw and Moore got Trout on a pop-up.

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