Interference call sparks St. Joe past Spalding

Gaels score three runs in eighth to advance to MIAA A final against No. 1 Calvert Hall

Mount St. Joseph 3 No. 4 Arch. Spalding 0

Baseball

May 22, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun reporter

A simple, little catcher's inter- ference - a tick of the mitt of Archbishop Spalding's Eddie Palmer in the top of the eighth inning - proved to be a key play.

The call led to Mount St. Joseph's 3-0 upset of the No. 4 Cavaliers yesterday in Severn to advance the Gaels to tomorrow's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference final at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

Kevin Taylor was awarded first when his left-handed swing caught Palmer's mitt and Tommy Bowles, who was on first, moved to second with two outs. Tim Biggs followed with a bad-hop single off third baseman Adam Summervelt's glove into left to score Bowles and break the scoreless tie.

A double into the gap in left-center by Brandon White chased two more Gaels home for a 3-0 lead against losing pitcher Paul DeVito. Tommy Miller closed out the Cavaliers in the bottom half to preserve the win for Ryan Kemp (6-3).

The Gaels (17-14), who barely qualified as the fifth seed in the six-team, double-elimination tournament, going 8-10 in the league, including 3-6 in the second round, will play No. 1 Calvert Hall (32-0) at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. If the Gaels win, the teams would play again at Ripken on Thursday.

It will be Mount St. Joseph's third final in four years. The Gaels won the 2004 title, their first in 17 years, and lost to Calvert Hall, 12-2, in 2005 when the Cardinals went 31-1. The latter is seeking its third straight title.

Yesterday, Kemp and DeVito hooked up in a pitchers' duel. Kemp went seven innings on 118 pitches, yielding six hits, striking out two and walking six.

DeVito, who went five innings with no decision last Tuesday in the Cavaliers' 9-6 loss at Calvert Hall, went eight innings yesterday for the first time since posting a 1-0 win over St. Paul's on March 29. The junior left-hander was out all of April with an injured throwing hand.

In his outing yesterday, DeVito gave up six hits, struck out 10 and walked two.

The Cavaliers (27-10) had plenty of chances to score earlier in the game, leaving 13 men on base, including a man on third in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

"I felt a little bit of pressure, but I was out there going after hitters, trying to throw strikes and get outs," Kemp said.

Finally, in the top of the eighth, after the Cavaliers had stranded two runners in the bottom of the seventh, the Gaels' Bowles walked. DeVito then got the next two batters and had a strike on Taylor when the latter started to ask for time.

DeVito was already into his delivery as Taylor started to back out of the box without being granted time by plate umpire James Boyd. Taylor then took a desperate swipe at DeVito's offering as Palmer leaned into it with his mitt and was called for interference.

"We actually had a hit-and-run on with Kevin, and the umpire made the right call, an excellent call," Gaels coach Dave Norton said. "We got a couple big hits right after that."

Those hits with men on base didn't come for the Cavaliers.

"Today was kind of a summary of our entire season, not doing the little things," Spalding coach Steve Miller said.

pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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