Brent Gossman came on to get the final out with the tying run on second base in the top of the seventh, as third-ranked Calvert Hall held on for 7-6 victory over No. 6 Archbishop Curley in the first game of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs yesterday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.
Gossman saved it for the defending champion Cardinals (22-7) and lefty Ryan Kyle by coaxing the Friars' leadoff batter Adam Schisler into hitting a fly ball to Greg Smoot in right to end it.
The win puts the Cards in tonight's 7: 30 winners' bracket game at Cannon against Mount St. Joseph, which beat Loyola, 5-4. Curley (20-9) meets Loyola in the 2: 30 losers' bracket contest in the four-team, double-elimination format.
Kyle (9-0) took a 7-2 lead into the seventh yesterday and struck out the first batter, Mike Costello, before the Friars loaded the bases on a single by Dave Fritz, who was 2-for-4, and walks to Scott Kosmicky and Vince Bush.
After striking out Andy Welling on a 1-2 curveball, Kyle needed just one more out for the complete game, but couldn't get it. Shortstop Seamus Corcoran's error allowed one score a run. Brian Salamone then drilled a shot over Gossman's head in right field to clear the bases to make it a one-run game with Salamone standing on second base.
Calvert Hall coach Joe Binder then summoned Gossman. Schisler worked the count full before lofting the game-ending fly.
"They were talking trash over there trying to get into my head when I came in, but I tried to shut them out and throw strikes," said Gossman, who posted his second save. "I didn't expect to come in the ball game today because I'm throwing [today], but I'm glad I got the chance to nail it down. I guess I did my job."
Kyle did his job as long as he could, leaving after 141 pitches (86 strikes), 11 hits, five walks and six strikeouts.
"Ryan felt pretty good going out for the seventh, but it's not easy to continue to throw hard and throw strikes in a tight ball game like that," Binder said. "He just ran out of gas."
Kyle cruised through the first three innings as Calvert Hall built a 5-0 lead, but had to escape jams in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings as the Friars stranded eight runners.
Smoot (2-for-3) doubled in a two runs off Curley starter and loser Raymond Price in the first inning. Price was wild throwing 31 pitches in the first inning -- only 11 for strikes -- and left when he walked his fourth batter, Gordon Stebbings leading off the second.
Three straight infield hits by Dan Sorrelis (2-for-2), Corcoran and Joe Marcozzi off reliever Doug Lamikn and a sacrifice fly by Gossman produced two second-inning runs.
Curley got on the board in the fourth on RBI singles by Bush and Welling, but left the bases loaded as Kyle threw a double play ball with Corcoran starting it.
In the fifth, two Friars reached after two were out, but Kyle got Kosmicky on a grounder to third baseman Luke Thomas.
The sixth found Curley loading the bases, but Kyle got off the mound like a cat and pounced on a topped ball down third by Schisler and threw to catcher Gordon Stebbings for a force at home. Brian Sommers grounded out to end the threat.
Stebbings made several crucial blocks on Kyle pitches in the dirt during the three crucial innings to prevent serious damage.
A single by Corcoran and a wild pitch by Lamkin plated the final two Cardinal runs in the sixth. Those two runs proved to be huge after the Friars uprising.
"The idea is to win the first two and get the Wednesday bye," said Binder.
* Mount St. Joseph 5, Loyola 4: Joe Hargadon drove in the winning run with a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh as the Gaels (19-6) moved on in the MIAA A Conference tournament at Joe Cannon Stadium. John Ritt (6-1) threw a complete with nine strikeouts for Mount St. Joseph, which went ahead 4-3 in the fifth on Steve Brown's RBI-single.
Steve Pyzik's three-run home run put Loyola ahead, 3-2, in the third.
* Chapelgate 12, Boys Latin 4: Dan Parlette homered and hit two doubles to lead the Flames (10-7) past the Lakers in the first round of the MIAA B Conference Tournament. Chapelgate avenged an earlier loss to Boys' Latin and plays the winner of the St. Mary's/Gibbons.
Class 3A East quarterfinals
Eastern Tech 7, Catonsville 6: Josh Kinney won the game for the Mustangs with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th. Kinney's heroics came three innings after Jose Barbosa tied the game with two-out triple in Eastern Tech's last at-bat.
Kenwood 11, Aberdeen 10: Mike Izzo's infield single drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Bluebirds in 3A North action. Kenwood plays at Fallston, 8-3 winners over Dundalk, on tomorrow.