Perry Hall slips into title game, 11-7

No. 15 Gators continue unlikely tournament run, eliminate Frederick

4A baseball

May 26, 1999|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Perry Hall began the month with a one-run loss to Parkville to drop to 4-9.

Now, the Gators could be closing May with a state championship.

No. 15 Perry Hall advanced to the state 4A title game, defeating Frederick, 11-7, yesterday in a semifinal game at Northeast High in Pasadena.

The Gators (12-11) will play Glen Burnie for the state title later this week. Glen Burnie defeated Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George's County, 6-0, in the other semifinal last night.

Perry Hall used two home runs from sophomore center fielder Shawn Warner and some clutch relief pitching from Dan Markley to keep its unlikely postseason run on track.

Markley, who provided key pitching in the regional final triumph over Dulaney last Saturday, wiped out a bases-loaded, none-out situation in the bottom of seventh, retiring the next three batters by strike out.

"It was extremely stressful," said Markley, who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings. "At the end, I don't know what happened. I just lost it for a few batters, and I went back to the wind-up and got myself back together."

Perry Hall couldn't have found a better time to right things after a 1-5 start, winning seven of its last eight games. The insertion of Brian Hodgson and Curtis Crass on the left side of the infield has been the key in solidifying the Gators defensively.

The Gators had no errors yesterday, with Crass making some solid plays. Their offense, which produced nine home runs through the first 22 games, went deep four times against Frederick pitching yesterday.

Warner ignited a decisive five-run sixth inning for Perry Hall, drilling a 1-0 pitch close to 390 feet over the center-field fence to break a 6-6 deadlock. George Kastanavos had a two-run double and John Wanger hit a two-run homer in the inning.

"We looked at this way -- we have 20 exhibition games and the real season is the playoffs," said Warner, whose team had eight extra-base hits among its 13 overall. "All we have to do is win five games and we're state champions, and that's how we're looking at it."

The Gators put three runs across in the opening inning against Cadets starter Justin Frushour, including a Warner shot to center field. Frederick (13-12) scored four in the bottom half as Travis Hebron and John Tsikerdanos hit back-to-back homers.

Perry Hall tied the game at four in the second as Robby Ibex scored from third on a wild pitch by Frushour. Gators starter Chris Pike failed to put away Frederick after retiring the first two in the third inning, eventually leading to a double steal that scored courtesy runner Chris Main.

Brian Vecchioni tagged a two-run home run to center off Frushour in the fourth to present Perry Hall with a 6-5 lead. The Cadets got even at six in the fifth on an RBI single by Tsikerdanos before Warner went over the center-field fence again to start the sixth inning.

"The hitting has been there all year, but defensively we were terrible, making five or six errors a game," said Perry Hall coach Elmer McCann. "We've made some changes and gotten better. We've turned it around, and everything is clicking."

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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