Mount St. Joe goes over top in 2-0 win

Gaels capture A crown by beating Spalding for 5th victory in five days

MIAA baseball

High Schools

May 29, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Before the baseball season began, Mount St. Joseph's veteran coach, Dave Norton, took a graduate course on "personality in the classroom." He did a study of his team for a paper and discovered that all of his players have what is called an "orange" personality.

Such a personality indicates a zeal to compete, and Norton's Gaels proved they fit that definition yesterday as they completed an improbable run of five wins in five days at Towson University with a 2-0 victory over Archbishop Spalding for the championship of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference.

Junior right-hander Brad Miller pitched a six-hitter to lead the No. 6 Gaels (28-6) to their second straight win over the No. 2 Cavaliers (23-10).

"An orange personality means you are extremely aggressive, and all my kids have it," said Norton, who took over at Mount St. Joseph in 1983, but has experienced more than his share of frustration despite finishing in the top 10 every season.

"I knew this was going to be a tough team going into the season and the kids deserve all the credit."

The Gaels last won the A Conference title in 1987, when they beat Calvert Hall in a best-of-three series -- their second in a row. Over the next 17 years, they lost in the final five times, three of the defeats coming in a row (1998-2000).

"I'm so glad and happy for Mr. Norton and all that he's been through," said shortstop and four-year starter Steve Clevenger, who with the rest of the team rode home in style -- in a Hummer limousine compliment of the players' parents. The ride was ready, win or lose.

Mount St. Joseph opened the 2004 double-elimination tournament with a 5-2 win over John Carroll, but lost its next game, 3-1, to Spalding to fall into the losers' bracket.

The Gaels began their unlikely five-game streak on Monday by beating McDonogh, 11-6, followed by a 7-2 win over two-time depending champion St. Paul's the next day.

A 7-6 thriller against No. 1 Calvert Hall on Wednesday set up Thursday's 6-5 win over Spalding to force the extra game.

Miller, a transfer from Howard High, shut down one of the metro area's top-hitting clubs in the Cavaliers, who were making their first appearance in the final since joining the A Conference in 1986.

"It hurts really bad, but we battled really hard and, hopefully, next year the underclassmen will win one for us," said Spalding's outstanding catcher, Justin Perry, who was 2-for-3.

Mount St. Joseph staked Miller to a 2-0 lead in the first, with Clevenger doubling in a run and Chris Hildreth, who had also doubled, scoring on Jim Drury's fielder's choice. Lefty Keith Price held the Gaels to just two hits the rest of the way, and ace Andrew Germuth pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

Though Spalding couldn't solve Miller (6-2), it had him on the ropes three times. Miller struck out seven and walked two on 91 pitches. He survived a bases-loaded jam in the first and left two runners stranded in each of the third and sixth innings.

AS 000 000 0 -- 0 6 2

MSJ 200 000 x -- 2 4 0

Price, Germuth (6) and Perry; Miller and Romiti. 2B: MSJ--Hildreth, Clevenger; AS--Woods.

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