Atholton vs. Glenelg baseball

Atholton's Michael Slayton, left, scores a run against Glenelg as catcher Carter Sancomb fields the ball. Glenelg came back to win the game, 5-4, in the eighth inning. (Photo by Noah Scialom / May 2, 2013)

Atholton's magic number to win the Howard County baseball championship was four.

But Glenelg's only concern was winning on senior night.

The Gladiators defeated Atholton, 5-4, in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night to reopen the race for the Howard County championship.

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"We have a dozen seniors here on the team," coach Dave Boteler said. "I'm really happy for those guys. It's been a really tough season. We've lost a lot of one run games (four), and we finally won a one-run game ... an opportunity to play the spoiler is still cool."

One night before, Atholton improved to 11-2 with a win over Centennial, while Oakland Mills lost to River Hill, 5-3, on a walkoff home run by Shrawan Sinha to drop to 11-3.

After Atholton's loss on Thursday, the Raiders dropped to 11-3 to fall into a tie with Oakland Mills atop the county standings.

Atholton led at Glenelg, 3-0, in the top of the fifth, but the Gladiators scored three runs in the fifth and sixth to tie the game.

The Raiders took the lead again in the top of the seventh, but Glenelg forced extra innings in the bottom of the seventh when Alex Melcher (3-for-4, RBI) hit a leadoff single and scored on a two-out RBI base hit by Forrest Southern.

Gladiators reliever Dylan Waddell got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth, and then came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with one out and the bases loaded.

The senior worked a 3-1 count before hitting a sharp line drive to short that drove in the winning run.

"It was pretty cool for us to come back and win the game, it was a very impressive comeback," Waddell said. "I knew I had to hit a ball or have him throw another ball and walk me, and that ball was right there and I made contact."

Glenelg saw the return of Nick Crabill (3-for-5, double, RBI) and Tyler Hoeflich (pinch hit single) from injuries, but the Gladiators are still without shortstop David Brookhart and second baseman Luke Brister, who recently injured his ankle. Brookhart is expected to return for the playoffs.

"We believe in this team, even through the challenges and the trials that we've been through. I don't think these guys have ever stopped believing in each other and what they're capable of," Boteler said. "We definitely have a lot to play for."

Although he did not earn the win, senior Logan Dubbe delivered a gritty performance for the Gladiators on the mound, pitching seven innings and allowing only two earned runs on seven hits (four strikeouts, one walk).

"He has pitched great in every single game, he has faced some of the top pitchers in the county and dueled every one of them. There has not been a game where he has pitched where we have not been in it," Boteler said. "Logan has been awesome. He's the team leader. He's an emotional player, he really cares a great deal about this team, and this is his last run here at we're excited about the next couple of weeks."

Atholton's Daniel McCann also pitched a strong game, allowing two earned runs in five innings. Daniel Wertheimer finished the game for the Raiders, and neither of the two runs he allowed were charged against his earned run average.

Joe Bentz (3-for-5, run, stolen base) and Brady Acker (two doubles, two runs) led the Raiders offensively.

Every other team in the league has at least five losses with only three games remaining on the schedule.

Atholton's remaining games are home against Howard (8-7) on May 3, at Reservoir (9-5) on May 6 and at Wilde Lake (3-11) on May 7.

Oakland Mills plays at Hammond (9-6) on May 3, home against Glenelg (8-7) on May 6 and at Reservoir on May 7.

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