The opportunity was there in the bottom of the seventh inning for Eastern Tech to repeat as Class 2A state baseball champions, but the Mavericks couldn't push a run across and dropped a 2-1 decision to North East-Cecil in eight innings yesterday at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.
North East scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the eighth.
"I'm just as proud of this team as I was of the team that won last year," said Eastern Tech coach Spike McElfish. "This was a younger team that matured."
Eastern Tech was looking to join top-ranked Arundel as the only Baltimore-area teams to win state titles in 2006, but instead the Indians (21-3) from Cecil County claimed their first state crown since 1988 under Mel Bacon.
It was the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference champion Indians' fifth state title overall, and they did it behind senior right-hander Brett Foskey (9-1).
"They are a really good hitting team and their pitcher [junior Ryan Rivers] pitched just as good a game and deserved just as much credit," said the 6-foot-5 Foskey, who is headed to Muscle Shoals (Ala.) Community College.
Left-hander Gerard Sokolis, who pitched Eastern Tech to last year's state title, pitches for Muscle Shoals, and it was his younger brother, junior Mike Sokolis, who threw the wild pitch in the eighth to allow the winning run.
Rivers, a 6-5 junior right-hander who went seven innings Tuesday in the Mavericks' semifinal win over Atholton, had to come out after seven yesterday because of state pitching rules -- a 14-inning limit in a seven-day period.
Rivers (7-2) gave up six hits, struck out nine and walked one yesterday, with the only run coming on a bunt single by Lenny Poore in the second.
Justin Whitlock's single tied the game in the fourth and Sokolis came on in the eighth for Rivers. The Mavericks (18-6) just missed a double play that would have gotten Sokolis out of the inning, but the wild pitch came to the next batter.
"We did all we could do," Rivers said. "One little hit there, one not swing, one turned double play could have turned the game."
Foskey, who went all eight innings for a five-hitter with four strikeouts and three walks in addition to two intentional walks, escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the seventh.
Matt Gardner worked it to 3-0 before fouling out to the catcher, Jessie Crockett, on a 3-1 pitch, and Foskey got Ben Kottraba on a ground ball to end the inning.
Note -- In the Class 1A final, senior Dan Cropper threw a one-hitter, losing a no-hit bid in the fifth, and struck out 12 to lead Snow Hill (19-4) to its first state title with a 2-1 win over Bohemia Manor.email@example.com