Two years removed from winning the Maryland Class 4A state baseball championship, Bel Air took another step in that direction Tuesday in the 3A North, Section II final.
Playing at the Ripken Complex and its all-turf Yankee Stadium, Bel Air hosted and beat Kenwood, 8-2, to advance into Friday’s North Region championship game.
The Bobcats are scheduled to host Towson in Friday’s title game.
Meanwhile, Patterson Mill’s bid for a fourth straight region title ended with a 2-1 road loss at Colonel Richardson in the 1A East, Section I final.
John Carroll was also in action Tuesday, keeping its season alive with an 11-6 victory over Archbishop Spalding in MIAA Tournament play.
In the Bel Air win, the Bobcats (15-1) rode the pitching of senior Cam Kalandros, who pitched a complete game, striking out nine. He scattered five hits and walked just one.
“We have two other pitchers and I was gonna go as many pitches as I could today and I ended up going out seven, so happy about that,” Kalandros said.
Kenwood got a run off Kalandros in the first. Justin Johnson singled and Ryan Puller tripled him home.
Kalandros allowed just three more hits and the walk the rest of the way.
His teammates picked him up in the bottom of the first, scoring three times to get ahead and for good.
Liam Bowers and Drew Gagnon collected back-to-back walks to open the inning. Andrew Sunday drove in both with a single and Matt Fino added a triple to plate Sunday.
The Bobcats defense stepped up in the second. Jacquez Jackson drew a walk to start the inning. Two batters later, Kendall Goodwin doubled to left field. Jackson tried to score, but was cut down on a 7-6-2 out.
Bel Air did score in its half of the second. Austin Rohlfing struck out leading off the inning, but reached on a throwing error by the catcher. Rohlfing stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a Bowers sacrifice fly.
Kalandros retired the Kenwood hitters in order in the third and fourth innings, but Dylan Budka singled to start the fifth.
Budka moved to second on a slow groundout to first and then moved to third on a passed ball. Budka raced around third toward home as Bobcats catcher Fino collected the ball.
Fino‘s throw to Kalandros covering the plate was errant, allowing Budka to score.
Kalandros struck out the next two batters and the first two in the sixth. Alex McCoy singled with two outs, but the next batter popped out to first.
The Bobcats added a few insurance runs, four, in the sixth. Sunday singled and scored and Fino reached on a strikeout and scored on a Kalandros triple.
“On an 0-2 count, he just threw me a curve ball and I saw it really well,” Kalandros said.
Justin Snyder doubled in a run and later scored the final run on a wild pitch.
Sunday finished with three hits to lead the Bobcats.
“Cam was around the plate, he threw strikes,” Bobcats coach John Swanson said. “He didn’t really get behind many batters today and he did what a senior pitcher is supposed to do….pitch. Not throw, pitch, so it was fun to watch.”
Archibald leads Patriots
John Carroll senior Ryan Archibald pitched and hit the Patriots (18-5) to the win.
Archibald drilled a two-run home run in the first inning and then added another two-run shot in the Patriots five-run, fourth inning.
Archibald wasn’t bad on the mound either. He threw five innings, scattering five hits and five runs (three earned). He walked one and struck out nine.
Leadoff man Grant Astle added two hits, three runs and two RBIs and Brad Hock also had two hits and two runs scored.
Tyler Blittersdorf had one hit, a double, and three RBIs.
Ben Pika and Ryan Ishak each threw an inning of relief for the Patriots.
John Carroll will host Loyola on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m.
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports