On an evening when a constant drizzle slicked the field at Joe Cannon Stadium and made every groundball an adventure, strikeouts were at a premium during Wednesday's District V title game.
Reservoir pitchers got 12 of them, and Old Mill pitchers didn't get any. So it was no surprise that the Gators won, 3-1, behind the power arms of freshman Cody Morris and senior Lee Lawler.
Morris struck out seven in five innings (75 pitches) of work before turning the ball over to Lawler, who retired all six batters he faced — five of them on punchouts — to earn the save.
"I was a little nervous but I got the jitters out and just pitched, I didn't really think about it," Morris said. "I had no problem handing the ball over to Lee because he's a great pitcher and I have complete faith that he'll close it out."
The original plan was to use three pitchers on Wednesday, but Reservoir coach Adam Leader said that Morris was so efficient that there was no need to go that deep into the bullpen.
"We did what we wanted to do. We had Cody come out and kept his pitch count down real low and kept rolling, and then we brought Lee in to get some work," Leader said. "We couldn't have drawn it up any better. Without the rain would have been nice."
Without the benefit of strikeouts, Old Mill's defense had to handle many more balls in play, resulting in six throwing errors, one in every inning except for the seventh, and two unearned runs.
"They put the ball in play and we didn't," Old Mill coach Jeff Martin said. "With the conditions like they were you've got to make teams make plays and we just didn't do it."
Reservoir scored in the first inning when Lawler (hit by pitch) went from second base to home on a two-out throwing error and again in the fifth when Lawler led off with an infield single, advanced on a fielders choice and another throwing error, and then scored on a sac fly by Ben Summers. Summers plated Bryan Davidson (leadoff single) with another sac fly in the seventh to give Reservoir some breathing room.
Old Mill got its run in the third when Jordan Taylor bunted his way on, took second on a passed ball, stole third and scored when the throw from the plate sailed into left field.
Despite all of the defensive miscues, Old Mill starter Guy Wharton delivered a gutty performance, allowing only the two unearned runs, three walks and one hit through six innings of work, leaving nine Gators marooned on base.
"He was hitting spots, mixing his pitches up. Guy's not a strikeout pitcher so obviously we've got to play good defense behind him and we didn't do that," Martin said. "We gave them too many opportunities, too many extra outs and they took advantage of a few of them."
The win was Reservor's 20th in a row after losing to Centennial on opening day. The Gators have now won 41 of their last 43 games since the start of the 2011 season, including the last two Howard County championships and District V titles.
Re (20-1) 100 010 1 - 3 3 1
OM (18-3) 001 000 0 - 1 2 6
Morris, Lawler (6) and O'Hagan. Wharton, Bohle (7), Owens (7) and Ratzburg.
MIAA B Conference
After Wednesday's 5-4 walkoff win over visiting Baltimore Lutheran, Glenelg Country celebrated the careers of four seniors who helped lead the Dragons to their most MIAA B Conference wins in school history.
Seniors Tyler and Brandon Henderson, Gerald Quarles and Brad Kitchen have helped Glenelg Country win 24 B Conference games over the last four league seasons.
In Wednesday's game, Baltimore Lutheran held a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, though, Glenelg Country's Will Seiferth led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a single by starting pitcher Jack Dougherty (CG, 9 K, 4 H). Dougherty's courtesy runner, Joey Pickens, then stole second and scored on a double by Brandon Henderson. Henderson then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Max Godwin.
Lutheran managed to tie the game in the top of the seventh on a wild pitch. But the Dragons had the hammer on senior night and they used it. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Miguel Flores singled up the middle and then stole second to get into scoring position. That set up Will Seiferth's walk-off double into the left center field gap.
With the win, Glenelg Country secured second place in the B Conference Red Division and a home game in the first round of the upcoming playoffs.
BL 101 010 1 - 4 4 1
GC 000 103 1 - 5 7 1