There was no comeback for Centennial last night in the Class 3A baseball final at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.
The No. 5 Eagles were the comeback team of the state baseball tournament before last night's final with three consecutive late-inning victories, but they met Brett Harman of Westminster and lost, 4-1.
Harman, a 6-foot-5 right-hander headed to the University of Maryland, was on a mission.
Having lost to Arundel in the Class 4A semifinals two years ago, Harman vowed he would get the No. 11 Owls (15-8) to the state final his senior year and win. Harman delivered with a five-hitter and eight strikeouts on 92 pitches for the Owls' first state baseball title in school history.
"Yes, I wanted this more than anything I wanted in high school," said Harman, who won four games in the playoffs to finish 10-1 with an ERA under 1.00 and had his father, Bryan Harman, the Owls' coach, beaming afterward.
"I've wanted to get to this game since my sophomore year and control my own destiny. My team helped me out tremendously."
His team got him single runs in the first, third and fifth innings off Ben Winter (6-1), who lost his first game since his freshman year (12-2 career). A fielder's choice by Doug Poliutz, a bunt hit by Harman and an error produced the first three runs, and Chris Eckard homered for the last run in the top of the sixth.
Winter spoiled Harman's shutout bid with a leadoff triple in the sixth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Harclerode. But Harman retired the next five batters in order.
"He's an outstanding pitcher, probably up to 400 pitches in the last two weeks," said Centennial coach Denis Ahearn. "He's outstanding, has great stuff and is a bulldog. He's one of those kids who goes out there and goes bite, bite."
Centennial won state titles in 2001 and 2004 under Dave Appleby and Ahearn, respectively.