Neary gives No. 11 Spalding early lead over No. 1 Calvert Hall in 7-6 upset

April 01, 2010|By Mike Frainie | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Austin Neary knew that if host Archbishop Spalding were to upset top-ranked Calvert Hall, it needed to begin with him. Neary made the most of his chance.

The catcher deposited a 2-1 curveball over the right-center-field fence for a home run to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first en route to a 7-6 victory in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game for both teams. Neary later contributed the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the fourth for Spalding.

"I knew if we got on top early, that could be a big momentum-shifter for us," Neary said. "I wanted to set the tone in the game after we lost to Gibbons last week [in the conference opener]."

Eleventh-ranked Spalding (6-2-1, 1-1) made several mistakes, both at the plate and in the field, but overcame them. The Cavaliers used a five-run fourth to erase a 5-2 deficit and get the win.

"We came from behind and we never quit," Spalding coach Steve Miller said. "We didn't play well from behind last year, so this shows we've grown up a bit."

After Calvert Hall (5-2, 1-1) took a 5-2 lead, the Cavaliers went to work. Ben Smallenbroek doubled and Ryan Metzler singled, and both advanced a base on a bunt by Austin Clark. A single by Tim Briener scored Smallenbroek and Metzler to cut the lead to 5-4.

Two batters later, Cardinals pitcher Dominic Sgroi hit Spalding's Derek Wells with a pitch to load the bases. After a fly ball to center by Sean Miller scored Briener to tie the game, Neary singled to score David Boretti and Wells to give the Cavaliers a 7-5 lead.

Calvert Hall cut the lead to 7-6 in the top of the fifth when a single by Alex Pastorius scored Scott Merkel from second. Calvert Hall managed to get Merkel to third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Spalding pitcher Ryan Wagner got Patrick Fitzgerald to ground out to end the game.

"This is our second league game, but every week's a new season for us," Miller said. "I like the way we came back, but they have a great ballclub and we'll see them again."

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