No. 13 Arundel (18-5) jumped on top-seeded Old Mill with four runs in the top of the first inning, gave up the lead, then got a two-RBI hit by Syeed Mahdi in the fourth en route to a 7-5 victory against the Patriots in a Class 4A regional semifinal on Wednesday.
Arundel will play at either Severna Park or North Point on Friday in the regional championship.
To defeat the Patriots, the Wildcats had to get by Old Mill pitcher Josh Hader, who one-hit Arundel the last time the teams played in a 5-0 Patriots' win. Mahdi hit a single off of Hader, which drove in the two-deciding runs in the fourth inning.
"We knew we'd [see] him," Arundel coach Jason Lively said. "We knew he had a few innings left, and when you have a pitcher like him, you use him."
The Wildcats kept Old Mill on their heels all day, using a single by Kyle Brandt to plate two runs, then another by Mike Heaverline, to score another for a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. The fourth run of the inning came on a Steven Ghiardi ground out for a 4-0 lead.
Old Mill got one back in the bottom of the inning and added four more runs in the third. Old Mill broke through with three singles in the third inning to score three runs. After three innings, the score was tied at 5-5.
Arundel responded in the top of the fourth. Two of the Wildcats first three hitters reached base, and a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Mahdi stepped to the plate and ended up with a 0-1 count. Old Mill coach Jeff Martin brought in Hader, who is 10-0, to finish the at bat. Madhi greeted him with a single up the middle that plated Cooper Hibbs and Ethan Plummer for a 7-5 lead.
"The whole week we'd been practicing for him," said Mahdi of Hader. "I guessed that he would throw it on the inside of the plate. I choked up, and drove it up the middle. It was a team win. We all came together [Wednesday] ."
Meanwhile, Durocher got into a nice grove, giving up two hits in the final three innings. He was also the benefit of two double-plays, including one to end the game.
Class 4A East
Arundel 7, Old Mill 5
A - 401 200 0 – 7 7 0
OM – 104 000 0 – 5 11 1
Ghirardi, Durocher (3) and Brandt; Wharton, Hader (4) and Ratzburg. 2B: A – Brandt; OM – Rentas.