Mt. St. Joseph making some noise

Gaels top Spalding, 6-5, get shot in rematch today for first A title since 1987

MIAA baseball

High Schools

May 28, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The last time Mount St. Joseph won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference baseball title was in 1987, the last time the cicadas came out.

Those annoying insects have made their presence heard, and the Gaels are hoping they, too, are ready to come out of their 17-year slumber at 4 p.m. today at Towson University.

No. 6 Mount St. Joseph hung on for a 6-5 victory over No. 2 Archbishop Spalding yesterday at Towson to deal the Cavaliers their first loss in the MIAA A Conference double-elimination tournament and force today's "if necessary game."

"When you get this far, you've got to have pitching and defense to win championships," said Mount St. Joseph coach Dave Norton. "Pitching and defense will win it every time."

Norton's perennial Top 10 teams have had more than their share of disappointments. Since winning 17 years ago, the Gaels have lost in the final game five times, most recently in 2000.

Norton has gotten both pitching and this week as his staff has won four games in as many days. It needs a fifth today to complete the journey through the losers' bracket after falling to Spalding, 3-1, in the second game, the third loss of the season to the Cavaliers.

Yesterday, the Gaels (26-6) built a 6-1 lead, starting with a second-inning leadoff homer off the scoreboard in right-center by shortstop Steve Clevenger, who was 3-for-3. Jeff Poff's three-run blast to left off losing pitcher Dan Palumbo highlighted a five-run fourth.

Junior left-hander Dave Parks (3-1) took the five-run lead and a one-hit bid into the bottom of the seventh before tiring. Chris Huisman led off the third with a single for Spalding (23-9) and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Woods.

After giving up the hit and run, Parks retired the next 12 in a row, including a spectacular diving stop to his right and throw to first by second baseman Chris Hildreth for the last out of the fourth.

Parks hit Drew Poiter with a pitch to start the bottom of the the seventh. After getting Justin Perry on a fly ball, Parks gave up a two-run homer to Bobby Shaech. Andrew Germuth then flied to deep left for the third time in the game and Parks walked Huisman, prompting Norton to bring in Kyle Timme.

Chris Lane doubled and Don Fletcher did the same, scoring Huisman and Lane. Suddenly, it was 6-5.

Timme got Woods to ground out to Hildreth to end it.

"To be in this position is great, and to win it would be worth four years of hard work," Clevenger said.

Spalding, which last made the A Conference playoffs in 1992, hopes to bounce back and win its first title.

"I told the kids in the last inning to give it a good shot and if we don't win, let's at least have some positive momentum going into tomorrow [today]," said Steve Miller, Spalding's second-year coach. "We accomplished that."

MSJ 010 500 0 - 6 11 0

S 001 000 4 - 5 4 3

Parks, Timme (7) and Romiti; Palumbo, Price (7) and Perry. 2B: S-Lane, Fletcher. HR: MSJ-Clevenger, Poff; S-Schaech.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.