Jon Pavlis found the curveball he had been looking for all day in the seventh inning, and with it, the No. 2 Old Mill baseball team found victory over No. 4 Arundel, 5-4, yesterday.
Down 4-0 after two innings, visiting Old Mill scored three runs in the third with Justin Dove's two-run single the key hit. Tyler Young, who, along with Dove, had two doubles among his three hits, doubled in the tying run in the sixth, and Dove scored the game-winner on a throwing error in the seventh.
With one game left in the regular season, Old Mill (15-4, 12-3 Anne Arundel County) all but clinched a berth in the county championship game on Wednesday night at Joe Cannon Stadium. With the loss, defending champion Arundel (13-6, 10-5) was eliminated.
A win over Southern-Harwood (4-11, 5-13) at home Monday and the Patriots qualify outright. If they lose and fall into a first-place tie, the Patriots would also likely be in by virtue of their overall record.
Pavlis abandoned his breaking pitch early when he couldn't throw it for a strike. The right-hander found it in the last inning and left the tying run stranded on third.
"I told him you can't do this [give up on curve] against a good fastball-hitting team," said Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery. "He started working on it, and in the last inning he was awesome."
Throwing a season-low 83 pitches, Pavlis (6-1) finished with an eight-hitter, just three over the last five innings, with eight strikeouts, one walk and one hit batsman.
In the seventh, Pavlis gave up his only walk to Jason Lively leading off the inning. Lively (4-2), who got the loss in relief of Travis Chamberlain, stole second before Pavlis struck out Jesse Trout on a nasty curve.
With the Wildcats' No. 3 hitter, Bobby Goldbeck, at the plate, Lively stole third. At that point, Old Mill decided against bringing its infield in. Montgomery said he was willing to concede the tying run because he "felt if we went into extra innings, we would hit the ball and score runs."
It didn't matter. Pavlis struck out Goldbeck on what was arguably his sharpest curveball of the day. Pavlis then got Joey Frykman to ground out to second baseman Zack Montgomery to end the game.