Jeremy Ritz pitched a three-hitter and his coach, Denny Snyder, pushed all the right buttons to manufacture the runs as North Carroll upset No. 13 Parkville, 4-0, yesterday in the Class 4A North regional baseball quarterfinals.
North Carroll (12-8) advanced to today's regional semifinals against the Linganore/Westminster winner.
Ritz, a senior, struck out five, did not walk a batter and hit one. When he missed the plate, it was usually by little.
It was remarkable that Ritz threw 35 of his 80 pitches in the first two innings and only 45 over the last four, the most (11) in the fifth and seventh innings.
In the fourth, when the Knights (16-5) got their third and final hit, a leadoff single by Greg Myers, Ritz had a three-pitch inning. Andrew Morgan flied to left on the first pitch and Drew Hollern hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The Panthers ended the game with a 5-4-3 double play.
"I had good command and my fastball helped me out, along with a splitter," Ritz said.
"I had a little trouble with my curveball at the beginning, but my splitter came through."
The Panthers got an RBI single by Mike Haugan in the first and scored on a one-out sacrifice bunt and subsequent single by No. 9 hitter Nate Walker in the second. A third run came in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Berman following a couple of stolen bases to set it up.
A perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Casey Mann scored Walker, who had reached on an infield hit and went to second on a throwing error. Walker was sacrificed to third to set up the squeeze on the second pitch to Mann.
"My kids made the plays we had to, did the fundamentals and Jeremy pitched a great game," Snyder said.
No. 1 Spalding 4, Mount St. Joseph 3 -- Eddie Palmer hit a two-out single to drive in the winning run in the eighth inning for the host Cavaliers (26-5). Jason Patten (6-1) went the distance, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out 11 for the win. Spalding will face No. 2 Calvert Hall, an 11-1 winner over St. Paul's, in the double-elimination finals tomorrow at 4 p.m.
Marriotts Ridge 2, River Hill 0 -- Tim Blair (9-1) threw a no-hitter as the host Mustangs (15-5) shut out the Hawks in the Class 2A South regional.
Kenwood 4, Perry Hall 1 -- Larry Hicks (5-1) gave up one run, three hits, three walks and struck out six for the host Bluebirds (14-3) in Class 4A North. Hicks also went 4-for-4 with a triple, scored two runs and stole two bases.
No. 9 Fallston 3, Centennial 1 --Fallston coach Spike Updegrove addressed his team shortly after it defeated the Eagles at Harford Community College to advance in the Class 3A East regional playoffs.
Updegrove noted the 14 straight batters pitcher Val Strawbridge retired after giving up a run in the first inning. And then he said the hit of the game came from outfielder Greer McComas. He paused and added: "Make that the hit of the season."
McComas hit a sharp grounder past second base to score two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, providing the difference in a game that was dominated by pitching and fine defense.
After yielding three infield singles in the first inning, Strawbridge ended up with a four-hitter to record the win. Centennial pitcher Meg Tucker limited the Cougars (14-6) to one hit until they bunched together four in the three-run sixth.
Sam Demarco opened the inning with her second bunt single and moved to third one out later on Lisa Bilski's lined single up the middle. After Bilski was given second base, McComas provided the clutch single for a 2-1 lead. She would later come across on Meg Gravell's single up the middle.
"You have to dig deep down sometimes and that's what we were able to do," Updegrove said.
No. 1 Chesapeake-AA 6, Severna Park 3 -- Erika Stasch and Angela Yannone homered to lead the host Cougars (20-2) past the Falcons in the Class 4A East regional quarterfinal.
Perry Hall 10, Walbrook 0 -- Freshman right-hander Rachel Marciniak (2-0) struck out 10 and gave up one hit as the host Gators (16-3) beat the Warriors (13-2) in Class 4A North.
Northeast 3, Long Reach 0 -- Heather Brown (16-5) struck out 13 and gave up one hit to lift the host Eagles (17-5), who scored all their runs in the first, in Class 3A East.
Hammond 2, North Point 0 -- Right-hander Stephanie Speierman (18-3) pitched her seventh no-hitter and hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th to lift the host Bears (18-3) over the Eagles in Class 2A South.