Working extra, No. 4 Arundel tops C.M. Wright in ninth, 7-6

Jefferson's valiant effort can't stop 4A state champs

Walter wins record 499th


May 11, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Defending Class 4A state champion Arundel survived Kyle Jefferson's resolute effort last night and escaped the wide-open spaces at C. Milton Wright High in Harford County with a first-round East Region baseball victory by 7-6 in nine innings.

Junior catcher Jason Clemons dumped a one-out bloop single just inches in front of C. Milton Wright sophomore center fielder Jon Thurston in the top of the ninth to score Jesse Trout (3-for-5) with the winning run.

Thurston had made two diving catches earlier in the game to deny at least three runs.

The Mustangs (13-8) scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 6 on Thurston's RBI single and a double by Kevin Amig.

Amig was left stranded by Arundel reliever Joey Frykman (3-3), who set the Mustangs down in order in the bottom of the ninth to present 29-year coach Bernie Walter with his Maryland public record 499th career win.

"I was pumped when they got me that run," Frykman said.

The No. 4 Wildcats (15-6) will host No. 9 Broadneck (14-6) in a 4 p.m. East Region quarterfinal on Monday.

"We haven't played on an open, country field [no fences] like this in a long, long time, " said Walter, who is the state's all-time winningest public school coach at 499-137 (.785) and has a record nine state titles. "We beat an outstanding pitcher and a good ball club. We're just glad to get out of here alive."

Jefferson's arm and bat kept the Mustangs in it. The senior right-hander threw 140 pitches in going all nine innings (eight hits, five strikeouts, eight walks).

"Kyle has been the heart and soul of our team all season and I'm really proud of the way he and our team played against a team with the storied tradition and program Arundel has, " said Mustangs coach Joe Oswald.

Jefferson nearly hit for the cycle -- a single, double and his eighth home run -- in addition to scoring three runs.

Jefferson (5-2) had a shaky first inning with his errant pickoff attempt leading to three runs, but once he got going, he never seemed to tire despite the high number of pitches.

"It didn't matter how many pitches I threw, I wasn't coming out 'cause it was the regional and Arundel," said a teary-eyed Jefferson. "Just the name Arundel scares a lot of people, but we showed we could play with them. We were confident we could beat them."

Jefferson did lose a little on his fastball in the middle innings, giving up three runs in the fourth. The Wildcats got RBI singles from Jason Lively, Trout and Frykman (2-for-5, triple) to take a 6-2 lead.

"I got my second wind after that and I was throwing harder at the end than I was at the start," said Jefferson, who did not give up a hit in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings as the Wildcats failed to take advantage of his control problems. He walked the leadoff batter in each of those innings.

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