Paul DeVito wasn't his sharpest, but his teammates staked him a seven-run lead after three innings and the senior left-hander did enough as the No. 2 Archbishop Spalding baseball team defeated top-ranked Calvert Hall, 10-3, yesterday at Carlo Crispino Stadium in Towson.
The Cavaliers (24-5 overall, 13-2 league) took a half-game lead over the Cardinals (20-6, 12-2) in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference with the win.
The top two seeds get first-round byes when the six-team playoffs begins later this month.
Spalding had lost five in a row to the Cardinals dating to 2006.
"It was all because of our offense," said DeVito, who went to 4-1 in his longest stint since returning two weeks ago from a hairline fracture of his throwing wrist that kept him out for a month.
"They gave me enough runs so I could make mistakes, and it didn't really hurt me. My changeup was my best pitch today. My arm feels real good."
DeVito, who is 2-2 against the Cardinals and had not beaten them since his sophomore year, went 6 1/3 innings before Jason Patten came in to close it.
DeVito scattered eight hits, seven walks and six strikeouts on 128 pitches. He also picked off two Cardinals with his deceiving move to first and was aided by two double plays.
But his biggest gift from his mates was their batting. Matt Hillsinger hit a lead-off homer to start the game off Blake Geiger. The Cavaliers burst for five runs in the second and four in the third.
A bases-clearing double by catcher Eddie Palmer highlighted the second. Adam Summerfelt doubled in a pair in the third.
"I thought we played well in all areas, but I don't think DeVito had his best stuff but he battled through it," said Cavaliers coach Steve Miller, whose club lost to the Cardinals, 12-5, in their first meeting this year at Spalding as they got out-homered five to three.
"He got better as the game went on. It's good to get a win up here. I'd rather play here [Calvert Hall] in the playoffs because the ball jumps out in our park."
Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl started junior Geiger in place of senior Mike Dillon, who beat Spalding the first game but whose shoulder was bothering him.
"I don't like to take any chances on that, and we decided to give Geiger a chance today," Eckerl said.