North Harford's Zach Knotts reaches home before C. Milton… (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore…)
No. 3 North Harford played tension-free baseball Wednesday, which resulted in one of the Hawks' most dominating performances of the season.
Senior Cody Brittain threw a one-hitter as North Harford rattled off 11 hits and defeated C. Milton Wright, 10-0, in five innings.
"We were very relaxed," said Brittain, who improved to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.20. "We were as relaxed as we've ever been. We knew what we could do. I felt if I pitched as well as I could, my teammates would be behind me the whole time. And they were."
North Harford improved to 17-1 and 11-1 in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.
"We've been trying to do this all year," said North Harford coach Tim Larrimore, who is in his 22nd year leading the team. "And we should have been doing this all season. But we have high expectations. One of our big goals was to win our conference. We did that Monday, and I think that just took the pressure off. We've been a little up tight. Today, it was all relaxed."
C. Milton Wright (9-7) became the Hawks' prey. Infielders Chase DeMars, Grant Caspero and Jake Labe turned two double plays to keep the game close through the early innings, but the Mustangs needed a close call at first base for Caspero to leg out a single and break up Brittain's no-hit bid in the fourth.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, the Hawks scored six runs on six hits, including a double by Jon Hammer and a two-run single by Brian Shaffer that ended the game.
"Cody Brittain is an outstanding pitcher, and we're not hitting," C. Milton Wright coach Joe Stetka said. "But playing games like this one and the ones we have coming up against Gilman and Westminster will make us stronger in the playoffs."
Brittain also had a great day at the plate, hitting a triple and a single, scoring twice and driving in two runs. He had plenty of help offensively, including a big day from senior shortstop Brady Maguire, who returned to the lineup for the first time since spraining an ankle and tearing ligaments in it four weeks ago. Batting lead-off, Maguire had a walk, two singles and two runs scored.
"I was nervous at the start, wondering if the ankle would hold up," he said. "But everything just started coming back. I knew it would be tough at the plate because of going four weeks without hitting at all. But when I drew the walk on my first at bat that helped me. It was a relief to see all those pitches and it helped me see the ball better."
No. 3 North Harford 10, C. Milton Wright 0
CMW - 000 00X X - 0-1-2
NH - 111 16X X - 10-11-0
CMW-Katelan, Phillips 5th and Hawes. NH-Brittain and Hammer.
2B: NH-Wooten, Hammer. 3B: NH-Brittain.