Before the season, Catonsville High baseball coach Rich Hambor had this prediction for his team. “We are hoping to contend for a county championship and we like our chances in the region too.”
Those chances for a regional championship got a little better Wednesday afternoon after the top-seeded Comets (15-4) got a solid pitching performance from Chris Jay and the bats provided all the runs he needed in the first two innings as the Comets advanced to the Class 4A North Region final with a 13-2 win over visiting Poly.
Catonsville will host Westminster on Friday, May 17 in the regional final. The Owls defeated Sherwood, 5-4, in 10 innings in the other semifinal.
Jay pitched four shutout innings and allowed just two hits while striking out seven for the Comets on Wednesday.
“He’s our No. 3, but he’s just as good as a lot of team’s No. 1,” Hambor said. “He’s a cool guy out there and nothing really rattles him. He’ll get behind 1-0 or 2-0 and he’ll take a breath and settle down and come right back, so we are lucky to have him.”
Rob Wheelton (2-for-2) led off the bottom of the first with a home run and the Comets tacked on five runs in the second and seven in the third.
Scott Beautz had three hits and Kevin Sheppard and Brendan McTaggart had two hits each as every Comet starter had either a hit or an RBI.
“Whether we’ve got a guy batting eighth or third, everybody can bunt, everybody can drive the ball and everybody can hit the ball the other way,” Hambor said. “We’ve really been preaching a lot that it doesn’t matter what spot in the order you are hitting or what the situation is.”
The Comets have nine regulars who are batting above .300, led by Sheppard (.500), Jeremy Davis (.437) and JD Klein (.400).