Hot weather rejuvenated Glenelg starting pitcher Jeff Starcher's sore arm. Hot bats and good defense took care of the rest, as defending champion Glenelg won its fifth state baseball title yesterday, defeating Williamsport in the Class 1A final at Joe Cannon Stadium, 12-2.
State titles are becoming habit-forming for Starcher and Glenelg.
Yesterday, the senior right-hander, the Howard County Player of the Year last season, pitched a complete-game five-hitter. He also pitched a complete-game victory in the championship game a year ago.
Glenelg (21-4) won its fourth state title in six years. Only Arundel and Brunswick also have won four state titles during the 1990s. The win also was Glenelg's 11th straight.
With the temperature in the mid-80s, Starcher threw with grit for his 10th win against two losses. His teammates backed him up with 13 hits, including five doubles. And they made just one error. The game ended after six innings because of the 10-run slaughter rule.
Jon Hughes, who had the game-winning hit in the state title game last season, came through again with a 3-for-3 effort, including two doubles, a sacrifice fly and two RBIs.
"I thought he might give us three or four innings. But somehow his arm was rejuvenated," Hughes said.
"I felt really good but was surprised I could pitch the whole game. It was the warm weather," said Starcher, who helped his cause by going 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He hit a 400-foot double in the fifth inning during a four-run rally.
Other big bats included Matt Thrasher (2-for-4, two RBIs), Rob LaHayne (2-for-4, one RBI), Jason Weszka (1-for-3, three RBIs) and Brandon Robertson (2-for-5). And Mike Rice hit a 400-foot RBI double in the six-run sixth inning.
The first five batters in Glenelg's lineup went 10-for-18.
Starcher's teammates and coaches were worried about Starcher's arm ever since he came up sore following Tuesday's semifinal win over Kent.
Starcher threw more than 100 pitches and struggled early, giving up two walks, a single and one run in the first inning. Then he struck out the side in the second inning.
"We had him throwing 50 pitches by the end of that second inning, and that was our goal -- making him throw," said first-year Williamsport coach Rod Steiner. "But he's a gamer. He got stronger."
Glenelg coach Tom Thrasher said: "We were hoping to get 80 pitches from Jeff."
Williamsport starter Matt Bowman, who hit two doubles off Starcher, gave up single runs in the second and fourth innings before tiring and allowing four more Glenelg runs in the fifth inning for a 6-1 Glenelg lead.
Williamsport (17-9), which had won 10 of its last 11 games, rallied for one run in the bottom of the fifth making it 6-2 and creating hope for the Wildcats, noted for their comebacks.
Brad Anders replaced Bowman to start the sixth inning and was greeted with a single by LaHayne, a double by Robertson, a two-run double by Starcher and a two-run single by Weszka.
"I'm glad we pulled this off and went back-to-back," Weska said. "This is the highlight of my high school career."
3A: South Carroll, easily
The second-ranked South Carroll Cavaliers (21-4) lived up to the season-long hype about their talented pitching and potent offense by winning their first state title, 8-1, over Leonardtown, of St. Mary's County, at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.
The Cavaliers scored four runs in the opening inning and got a complete-game two-hitter by senior Brandon Woodard. Woodard, part of South Carroll's dynamic staff of Division I prospects, struck out 14 batters and walked six to improve to 8-1.
4A: For Glen Burnie, a first
Glen Burnie won its first state baseball championship by 3-1 over Perry Hall in the Class 4A final at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans Park yesterday.
As they did all season, the No. 12-ranked Gophers (18-7) rode the rubber arm of senior Tim Hecker to victory. Hecker, now 11-1, was the winner in four of the Gophers' five playoff wins, and he got a save in the other while pitching 27 1/3 innings in 13 days.
Yesterday, he scattered seven hits, struck out seven, and did not walk a batter for Anne Arundel County schools' third straight Class 4A title. The title was a Maryland-record 19th for county schools -- 13 in Class 4A -- since the state tourney began in 1975.