Centennial gets past Catonsville, heads to 3A final

Westminster tops Huntingtown to advance

Rivers carries Eastern Tech over Parkside


May 23, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun reporter

Team of destiny? Maybe.

It could be those "lucky" baggy off-white uniforms out of yesteryear that were accidentally tailored too big for the Centennial Eagles.

Or it just might be that there is a lot of talent on this team that showed itself again yesterday in a third straight, come-from-behind win, as Centennial defeated Catonsville, 5-4, in the state Class 3A semifinals at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.

No. 5 Centennial (20-4) advances to Saturday's 7 p.m. final at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen to face Westminster.

The Eagles' past two appearances in the final came in 2001 and 2004 when they won the school's two state baseball titles.

Austin Harclerode delivered the big hit, a three-run homer to make a winner out of right-hander Shane Mattingly (5-0).

After having a rocky first inning in which he gave up four runs, including two on a triple by Adam Kolarek, Mattingly settled down.

He allowed only five hits for the game (surrendering none from the fourth inning on).

He retired the final 14 batters and finished with eight strikeouts and a walk on 93 pitches.

Down 4-2, Harclerode's booming three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth capped a five-run inning as the Eagles had a late comeback just as they had done in the past two games of the 3A East regional.

"I was definitely thinking he was throwing me a fastball because he had been over-powering me all day and I had two strikeouts before that," Harclerode said of the left-handed Kolarek (7-2), who took a one-hitter with eight strikeouts into the fifth.

"I was pretty sure he threw me a changeup [Kolarek said it was a forkball] and it was out in the heart of the plate. I was just trying to put it in the outfield and get one of the runners in. The last two games have been the most exciting I have ever played in."

The Eagles came back on No. 12 North Harford on Thursday, 7-6, in nine innings on a Mike Ross single with the bases loaded in a 3A East semifinal.

Friday in the regional final, Ben Winter completed the cycle with a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh for a 4-3 win over then-No. 8 Fallston.

"It came down to one bad pitch," said Kolarek, who is headed to Maryland.

No. 6 Catonsville (17-4) was last in a final in 1990 and won its only state title in 1976.

No. 11 Westminster 2, Huntingtown 0 -- Brett Harman, a 6-foot-5 senior right-hander, threw a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts and one walk to lead the Owls to their first state baseball final. The Owls got Harman (9-1) the runs he needed in the fifth and sixth innings off losing pitcher Dustin Herbert of the Canes (21-3). "We got knocked out in this game my sophomore year and it's been on my mind ever since," said Harman, who has signed with Maryland. "I had a lot of motivation tonight. Arundel and Tyler Hibbs when he was a freshman knocked us out. I wanted to get back. Our team finds a way to manufacture runs and did tonight." Lance Middlekamp's single just over first base on the right-field foul line chalk scored the run in the fifth and Harman's bunt single and two errors led to the run in the sixth. "Brett is a horse, has won our last three games and will go Saturday," said his dad, Westminster coach Bryan Harman. "He's well conditioned and a competitor."

No. 2 Eastern Tech 6, Parkside 3 -- The visiting Mavericks (19-2) used a three-run first inning to take an early lead over the Rams (19-4) of Salisbury. Ryan Rivers pitched a complete game, striking out 13 batters and allowing only six hits. Eastern Tech took a 6-0 lead into the seventh inning. Mike Sokolis and Josh Kempa each hit a double for the Mavericks, who advanced to the Class 2A state championships on Saturday at Ripken Stadium.pat.omalley@baltsun.com

Staff reports contributed to this article.

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