North Harford third baseman Jake Sayler throws to first to record… (Staff photo by Nicole Munchel,…)
The final two Harford County baseball teams left standing in post-season play could not have had results much different than those seen on Tuesday night, as Patterson Mill cruised to a 23-0, five-inning win over Dunbar in the Class 1A semifinals, while North Harford came up short in its 15-inning marathon with La Plata, suffering a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in the 3A tournament's penultimate round.
Huskies headed to finals
Just four days after capturing their first-ever regional title, the Patterson Mill Huskies continued to forge toward a state championship banner with an easy, 23-0 victory over Dunbar at McCurdy field in Frederick, Md.
On Saturday at 1 p.m., the Huskies will square off with east region champ St. Michael's in the 1A title game.
Tuesday's semifinal was halted after the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule. Heading into the game, Dunbar held a perfect 16-0 record.
Aaron Childs wielded the Huskies' hottest bat, going 3-for-3 with a triple, two runs and four RBIs. Matt Golczewski hit a home run, drove in three RBIs and drew a pair of walks in the victory. Patterson Mill's Mike Delinski was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs and two stolen bases, while Jimmy Salamone whacked a double in the victory.
Joe Roman earned a win on the mound for Patterson Mill, going three innings in which he held Dunbar hitless, struck out three and surrendered two walks. Jeff England pitched the balance of the game, allowing one hit and striking out two hitters over two innings.
Hawks lose heartbreaker
After 15 innings, 4.5 hours, eight pitching changes, a bevy of close calls, a seven-frame pitching duel between two relievers, and a dozen dramatic, game-saving plays, the North Harford and La Plata baseball squads staggered off the diamond at Joe Cannon Stadium on Tuesday night with nothing left to give. They had just played the equal of two full games plus one inning, and knowing that there would be no tomorrow if they did not win, they had both thrown everything that was not bolted down at the other. Despite the effort, it was the Hawks who saw their season come to a close, as La Plata rallied in the bottom of the 15th to send North Harford home with a 2-1 loss.
The Hawks, playing as the visitors, struck first in Tuesday's game, with second baseman Zach Knotts starting what would be North Harford's only scoring rally by belting a 2-2 pitch to right field for a one-out single. Starting pitcher Cody Brittain came up next and hit a hard grounder to short, but the La Plata fielder misplayed the ball, allowing Brittain to reach safely, and Knotts to move over to third. After Kevin Mooney went down on strikes for the second out, Jake Sayler came to the plate and put a roller up the third-base line. La Plata's third baseman made the play, but sent his throw to first too high, and Knotts was able to score on the error.
After allowing just one base runner in the first two frames, Hawk hurler Brittain surrendered a one-out single in the bottom of the third, and the next Warrior hitter rapped a double to the fence in right field. After initially holding at third base, La Plata's lead runner came around to score when Knotts' relay throw to catcher Robert Campbell bounced off a bat that had been left on the third-base line, and skipped to the backstop. The score was now tied 1-1, and it would remain there for another 11 frames.
In the fourth, the Hawks saw Knotts and Brittain hit back-to-back one-out singles, but La Plata left them both stranded by retiring the side. The following inning, Campbell led off with a single, but Brady Maguire's sacrifice bunt attempt was caught in the air, and Campbell, who had been running on the play, was doubled up at first base. Knotts followed with a double down the first-base line, and the Warriors once again escaped by coaxing a long pop out from Brittain.
Perfect through the fourth and fifth frames, Brittain received a little help from his battery mate in the sixth, when Campbell got the inning's final out by picking off the Warriors' lead runner at second base with a snap throw.
In the bottom of the seventh, Brittain retired the first hitter, walked the second, and then watched a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt put the winning run on third with just one out. To extinguish the fire, the Hawk coaches called on ace Kevin Mooney, who had thrown a complete-game three days prior during North Harford's victory over CMW in the 3A north title game. Mooney ended the threat, and began a 6-2/3-inning relief stint, by striking out the first two hitters he saw.
On the mound until the 14th frame, Mooney was nearly untouchable, striking out 13, while allowing two hits and two walks. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Warrior reliever Anderson Burgess was just as effective. Taking over in the sixth and working through eight full innings, Burgess held North Harford to three hits and struck out seven.