Catonsville High senior center fielder Rob Wheelton knew his offense needed a spark, so he gave it to them, but not before providing them with a defensive gem that preserved a scoreless tie.
Wheelton’s diving catch in left center field ended the top of the third inning.
One out later, his sharp single to right field, followed by a stolen base, started an 8-run inning that led to a 9-5 victory over visiting Dulaney on Wednesday afternoon.
Catonsville improved to 5-3 overall and 5-1 in league play, while the Lions dropped to 7-3 overall.
“Every time you make a catch like that, it always gets the team going, especially when I make it, because I’m one of the captains on the team so it just gets blood flowing,” Wheelton said.
His sprawling catch also preserved a no-hitter for starting pitcher Tim Birkmeyer (2-1).
That was broken up with one-out in the top of the fourth on a home run by Kris Ewer.
“I knew Kris was going to give us trouble at some point today, whether it was on the mound or at the plate, and then he hit that home run,” Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said.
But, that came after the Comets batted 14 hitters and had seven hits and three walks off Ewer and relief pitcher Robert Picka in the bottom of the third.
Brendan McTaggart had RBI singles in each of his two plate appearances in the inning and Kevin Sheppard had a run-scoring single.
Chris Bruno had a two-run single and Scott Beautz added a two-run double that doinked off the third base bag.
“We’ve been around baseball long enough to know some days aren’t yours and some are the other teams,” Dulaney coach Ryan Wolfsheimer said. “The ball hits the bag, the left fielder makes a heckuva play, the center fielder makes a diving catch with a guy on second base.”
The superb catch in left field was made by Catonsville’s Ryan Whittington in the top of the sixth inning to preserve a 9-3 lead.
With runners on first and second, Whittington hauled in Kurtis Ewers’ long drive about three feet from the home run fence.
Whittington (2-for-4) had scored the Comets ninth run, after he tripled and scored on Jay Getzendanner’s double with two outs in the fourth.
Dulaney made it 9-3 on an RBI single by Picka and sacrifice fly by Patrick Hoffman in the fifth inning.
They drew even closer against Comet reliever Chris Jay in the top of the seventh.
Jake Sousa doubled to lead off the seventh and Bobby Donald singled with two outs, before Kris Ewers brought them both home with a double to left center field.
After Devin Conroy walked, putting the tying run in the one deck circle in the person and big bat of Kurtis Evers (1-for-3), Hambor brought in ace JD Klein for the one-out save.
The junior ace (3-0), who hurled a no-hitter this season in a 16-0 whitewash of Dundalk, and went five innings on Monday in a 6-2 win over Parkville, got David Chong to fly out to Wheelton for the final out.