Pitching saves day for Perry Hall against Dulaney

Markley's relief work preserves 9-8 victory for North championship


In a 9-8 slugfest featuring three home runs, a triple, and four doubles, it sounds ridiculous to cite pitching as the key factor in the outcome of a game.

But that was the case yesterday as Perry Hall beat its sometimes bitter rival Dulaney for the Class 4A North region title.

Perry Hall was hanging on the ropes with a one-run lead (9-8), and Dulaney already had scored a pair of runs and had a runner at second base with one out in the sixth inning, when Dan Markley was called to pitch for the Gators.

"We're in trouble," Perry Hall coach Elmer McAnn said he thought. "Markley and John Wanger [the pitcher Markley was replacing] both pitched Wednesday in an eight-inning, 2-1 win over Mervo. Both were tired. They didn't even throw warm-up before the game."

If Markley was tired, it didn't show. He struck out two Dulaney batters to end the sixth. Then he punched out two more in the home seventh to save the game and even the Gators' record at 11-11.

A .500 team region champ?

"We got off to a slow start, and it took us a while to get our game in order," said McAnn. "For one thing, we were making way too many errors, averaging five or six a game. Also, we had to get rid of all the walks our pitchers were giving. We could always hit pretty well [a .320 team average]."

Indeed. After Dulaney spotted the Gators three runs in the first inning and pulled to within 3-2 on run-scoring doubles by Rob Nelson and Trevor MacMeekin in the second, Perry Hall exploded for four runs in the third.

Two singles, a walk, a two-base error and a wild pitch were the minor ingredients around a three-base hit by Lucas Holmes that gave the Gators a 7-2 lead.

Dulaney got two back in the third and two more in the fifth, making it 7-6, on back-to-back homers by Dave Gobeli and Bryan Mosser, which is when Wanger replaced Perry Hall starting pitcher Chris Pike.

A huge break in the top of the sixth gave the visitors what proved to be the winning run. After John Worner had smacked a double to left field, designated hitter Brian Vecchiani hit a scorching liner over second base that took a synthetic-turf hop and rolled into a two-run homer: 9-6, Perry Hall.

With two Dulaney runners on in the sixth, Mosser hit a single to right field he ran into two bases, and both runners scored -- Gobeli, who had singled, all the way from first base.

That's when coach McAnn went to Markley and the senior right-hander did the rest.

Perry Hall's entire pitching staff now gets three days rest before the team's next game in the state tournament, Tuesday at Northeast.

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