There is no "top" or "bottom" of the lineup at South Carroll these days.
It's just one collective hitting machine that pounded out 15 hits and batted around on two occasions in yesterday afternoon's Class 3A West region final against visiting Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
The 10th-ranked Cavaliers, seeded third, sent 12 batters to the plate in the sixth inning and scored seven times in coming away with a 15-7 win over a Bethesda Chevy-Chase team that had some offensive firepower of its own.
It's the first region crown since 1991 for the Cavaliers, whose quest for a state title begins with a semifinal game today against Franklin at 4 p.m. at Joe Cannon Stadium.
Shortly following the game, South Carroll coach Brad Collins held up the region championship plaque and told his players "It's all ours."
Senior shortstop Bryan Herche quickly replied: "We want more than that, we want the bigger one."
The Cavaliers (16-6) go into the state tournament winners of 11 of their last 12 games.
"We talked about [getting to the states] at the beginning of the year. The kids wanted to be there and you don't always get there, but you try," said Collins.
Herche (2-for-4, three runs scored) picked up right where the Cavaliers left off in their 10-4 win against Seneca Valley on Saturday. He led off the bottom of the first yesterday with a triple to the gap in left-center to start a two-run inning.
There were two other South Carroll extra-base hits before Kile Maxcy's bases-loaded triple to dead center gave the Cavaliers an 11-5 lead in the big sixth inning.
"He was deep in the count and we were looking for him to just make contact," Collins said. "He's fun to watch when he's down in the count. It was a case where we got the big hit when we needed it. He really put it out there."
Sophomore second baseman Tim Jackman, who earlier drove in a run with a triple, drove in another with a double in the sixth. He's hitting eighth in the lineup, just behind Jason Petroski, who went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
"We're all hitting the ball real well. The main thing is contact and we've really stressed that," said Herche.
Bethesda Chevy-Chase, seeded fourth, made some contact of its own, taking a 3-2 lead in the second with Raffi Karamian's run-scoring triple with two outs the key blow.
The Cavaliers tied the score at 3 in their part of the second and took the lead for good with four in the fourth. Petroski, Maxcy and Wes Gibson each had run-scoring singles and Herche's double put across another run.
It wasn't a pitcher's day. With the Cavaliers leading 8-3 in the fifth, South Carroll starter Ron White moved to center and Zach Hollman came on to pitch.
Bethesda Chevy-Chase cut the lead to 8-4 and had the bases loaded and no outs when White returned to the mound. Dan Prodouz hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-5. Ian Mara bounced into a fielder's choice to score another before White struck out Sam Mellow to end the inning.
White retired Bethesda Chevy-Chase in order in the sixth before the South Carroll offense put up the seven runs in their half of the inning.
Bethesda Chevy-Chase loaded the bases in the seventh before the Cavaliers turned a double play. White then got Mellow to pop out to Jackman at second to end the game.