Howard slips by Hebron in eighth

McDermott's 2-strike hit defeats No. 10 Vikings, 4-3

Baseball

High Schools

April 20, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Howard junior shortstop Mike McDermott made the most of his chance at redemption yesterday afternoon.

Behind two strikes in the count, with two out and runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth inning, McDermott lofted a single to right field to bring home Justin Anderson and lift the 15th-ranked Lions to a 4-3 victory over Howard County's league-leading and 10th-ranked Mount Hebron.

Two days earlier, McDermott committed a throwing error with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth that allowed River Hill to score the winning run.

"I was actually pretty confident," said McDermott, who went 1-for-4 with one RBI. "I told [catcher] Chris Masters that I was going to win the game. I wasn't trying to be arrogant or anything. I was just trying to have confidence to just show them that that's what I had to do."

Before McDermott's heroics, Howard senior pitcher Matt Holley kept the Lions (7-5, 6-4 Howard County) alive after the game's start was delayed 55 minutes by rain. Holley (4-2) threw a tremendous complete game, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, striking out 13 and retiring the final seven batters. Of those seven, six consecutive went down on strikes.

"Holley stepped up and pitched a great game," Howard coach Rich Jenkins said. "I think today he kind of came of age and saw that he can carry the team and can shut the other team down to find a way to win."

The victory was also redemption of sorts for Holley, who took the defeat in a 2-0 loss to Mount Hebron on March 21. Both of those runs were unearned.

"I told myself at the start of the season, I will not have a losing record against any team, no matter who it was," said Holley, who walked just two and struck out the side in the seventh.

"I threw all right last time. I didn't think it was my best game. Two unearned runs, it happens. It's baseball. That's why I love the game. Because the next day you can come out and do what you got to do."

For Mount Hebron (9-3, 8-2), which had its five-game winning streak stopped, senior pitcher John Zabel lost for the first time this season. Zabel (4-1) pitched a complete game, as well, striking out five, walking two and hitting one batter. He didn't get much run support, though, as the Vikings left seven on base - five in the fifth and sixth innings.

"That's the weak part of our team," Mount Hebron coach Matt Forsyth said. "It's an improvement that we've got to make, and if we don't make that improvement, trying to get some clutch hits, then we can struggle."

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