MIAA Baseball No. 2 Calvert Hall 7, No. 1 Spalding 2

Cardinals steal spot

Dash home from third helps team reach final

May 17, 2008|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Reporter

A play not often seen sparked No. 2 Calvert Hall, as the host Cardinals defeated No. 1 Archbishop Spalding, 7-2, yesterday in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference tournament.

Shortstop Patrick Blair's straight steal of home sparked a four-run first inning, and Kevin Lingerman threw a three-hitter as the three-time defending champions advanced to the final at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cal Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

After Blair singled in a run in the first inning, he reached third and the bases were loaded, with Spalding starter Paul DeVito using a windup. Blair told third base coach Brooks Kerr he could steal home on the left-hander.

"We looked at each other and smiled when we saw him go from the windup," said Blair, who also tripled in the game.

"I told him I could make it, and after Joe [Robak, a left-handed hitter] struck out, [Kerr] told Evan Cain to fake bunt, and we executed it well. It kind of deflated them a little bit. We wanted to set the tempo. I really get excited for Spalding because they've been our rival the last couple years."

After Blair's steal, which also enabled the other two runners to advance for what was a triple steal, Cain hit a double to right-center to score two more runs and make it 4-1.

The Cardinals (25-7) took this year's first game, 12-5, and Spalding won, 10-3, at Calvert Hall in the second game.

"Pat's steal of home was huge," Cardinals coach Lou Eckerl said. "That gave us the momentum."

Calvert Hall, the top seed in the double-elimination tournament, would have to lose twice -- on Wednesday and, if that happens, on Thursday -- for there to be a new champion.

Second seed Spalding (27-7) fell into the losers bracket and will play at home Monday for the right to play Calvert Hall at Ripken Stadium. The Cardinals are trying to match their 1988-91 teams that won four straight.

Yesterday, the Cavaliers, whose three hits were doubles, scored in the top of the first on a fielder's choice by Cody Hines after Jeff Kemp's double sent Adam Summerfeldt to third.

pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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