Two baseball teams headed in different directions met on a chilly diamond on Monday afternoon and when the wind stopped howling, Catonsville had ended its three-game losing streak and Loch Raven’s five-game winning streak was over.
The Comets rallied from a 3-0 deficit for a 7-4 victory over the Raiders (8-6).
In each of the past three wins for Catonsville (6-5), they have rallied from behind in the later innings.
In this one, they tied it in the bottom of the fourth inning and took the lead for good, 4-3, in the fifth inning when Danny Bruno doubled home Nick Grace, who had stolen second with two outs.
“I had been in a slump before that so I was trying to get back out there and hit the ball hard like I’m used to doing and that’s what happened,” said Bruno, who had Tommy John surgery on his arm on Oct. 31, 2013, and only batted in six games last season.
The hit made a winner of starting pitcher Jake Parrott, who pitched six innings and allowed four runs (three earned), while striking out seven and allowing six hits.
“I think he’s the best pitcher we’ve faced all year,” Loch Raven coach John Railey said.
Bruno relieved Parrott in the seventh after a leadoff walk and allowed the inherited runner to score.
Loch Raven took the early lead with two manufactured runs in the first inning.
After Dustin Ruby reached on a one-out error, Anthony Raynor (2-for-4) had an infield hit and Noah Johnson stroked a soft single to center field to load the bases.
Aaron Brown drove home courtesy runner Evan Linz on a force out and Nick Trionfo plated the second run when he reached on an error.
In the third, the Raiders created another run and Ruby started the rally with a leadoff single.
Raynor’s sacrifice bunt moved courtesy runner Linz to second and he moved to third one out later on a single to right by Aaron Brown.
Brown than took off for second before Parrot delivered the next pitch.
He stepped off the rubber and second baseman Jake Getzendanner tagged out Brown, but not before Linz stole home with the third run.
“He (Parrott) really got down after they got that first and third play,” Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said. “We worked on it in practice and we’ve done it against other teams and he made a mistake defending that and he was down and I came out and said, ‘It’s not going to happen again, you are pitching great and just put that smile back on your face and he did.’”
Loch Raven senior hurler Trionfo was smiling early after tossing three shutout innings.
Nick Grace (2-for-4), who doubled in the first inning, was the only base runner.
“After the top of the fourth, we were down 3-0 and we had kicked the ball around a little bit and we were not swinging the bat very hard and I just said, ‘We’ll just erase this whole game and we’ll just start the game right now and get one run this inning,’ and we got three which was nice,” Hambor said.
The inning started with a leadoff walk from pinch hitter Lee Wolfe.
After a single to right center by Grace, Bruno walked to load the bases.
Matt Moulthrop’s two-run single broke the ice and Getzendanner’s ground out plated Bruno with the tying run.
Wolfe’s one out walk started the Comets’ go-ahead rally in the fourth inning that was keyed by Bruno’s two-out hit.
“If other guys are struggling, he (Bruno) feels like he’s a four-year starter, so he’s got to be the one, so we are just trying to take some of the pressure off him and we told him to do what he’s always been doing.”
Catonsville added three insurance runs in the seventh, keyed by a leadoff walk to Getzendanner, bunt single by David Lake and sacrifice bunt from Matt LaPrade.
Despite the loss, Loch Raven’s Railey was pleased with the performance of his starting pitcher Trionfo.
“He’s become a pitcher. I’ve watched him develop over the years,” Railey said. “As a freshman and sophomore, he battled himself a lot and he’s overcome that. Now, he thinks baseball, so I’m real pleased with what he is doing mentally on the hill as well as physically of course.”
Hambor, who had Parrott on the mound on April 16 in an eight-inning 7-5 victory over Dulaney when the Comets rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the top of the seventh inning, likes what he sees from his junior pitcher.
“I always like to see a smile on his face,” Hambor said.