When his team dropped a 1-0 decision to last-place Mount Hebron a week ago, Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell knew that wasn't the way he wanted to send his fifth-ranked Gladiators into the playoffs.
Yesterday against visiting Howard, he found what he was searching for.
Glenelg played well in nearly every aspect of the game, sending 13 men to the plate in an eight-run fourth en route to a 9-3 win over the Lions in a Howard County League game.
But a solid pitching performance of left-hander Sean Lookingbill was just as important. Starting his first game since suffering a back injury on opening day, Lookingbill looked strong, allowing three runs on five hits in his five innings while striking out six.
With two games remaining until the postseason, Ashwell said things are looking up.
"This was a really important game for us because the last thing we wanted to do was go into the final week of the season on a losing note," said Ashwell, whose team has won 11 of its past 12.
"It was also real important for Sean to have a good outing since he hadn't pitched all year. Now I know that we'll have him ready for playoffs."
For Howard (10-8 overall, 7-7 in the league), however, it looks as though there will be no playoffs. Coach Matt Forsyth said his squad will have to win its final two games to have any chance.
But in what amounted to a must-win game, four errors and some bad breaks destroyed the Lions' chances.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the fourth, Howard and starter Cailean Leith began to fall apart. Eight straight batters reached base to start the inning, with the ninth -- Mike Deming -- hitting an RBI sacrifice fly to center, and the 10th -- cleanup hitter Mike Goldberg -- driving a fastball over the fence in left for a three-run homer to make it 8-2.
"The inning started with an error, then there was a questionable foul ball. That could have been the difference right there," said Forsyth. "We could have had two outs to start the inning and saved four or five runs."
Other Glenelg hitting stars included Zach Guerra (2-for-4 with a home run and a double), Jason Mitchell (with a pair of singles) and Robin Davis (with a two-run double to center).
* Atholton 9, Centennial 7: Jamie Burford went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs to lead Atholton over Centennial. Brandon Eierman also had three hits and two RBIs for the Raiders.