The Atholton baseball team is only five wins away from a perfect regular season in Howard County league play, but if the last week is any indication, getting to 17-0 will not be easy.
The Raiders beat previously undefeated Reservoir, 3-2, on Tuesday on a walkoff single by Dan McCann; used an 8-run fifth inning to get past winless Oakland Mills, 9-2 on Wednesday; and eked out a 4-3 win at Mt. Hebron on Thursday.
Atholton still has to play three teams with winning records: home against Mt. Hebron on April 30, at River Hill on May 2, and at Marriotts Ridge on May 5, the final day of league play.
In Thursday's win, Atholton jumped to a quick lead as Brady Acker (2 H), Phil Frazier (2 H) and Michael Slayton all scored on RBIs by Slayton and Dan McCann.
The Vikings responded immediately with three runs in the bottom of the first on a sac fly by Jack Schroeder, an RBI double by Paul Lutchenkov and an RBI single by Matt Ansaldi.
That was all the scoring that would take place until the top of the fifth, when Acker scored again on an RBI fielder's choice by Nick Raulin.
Mt. Hebron had several chances to score the tying run in the late innings, but both opportunities were squashed by double plays.
In the fifth inning, the Vikings put runners on first and second with one out when Joey Trapuzzano (3-4) singled, and Schroeder was hit by a pitch. Lutchenkov then hit a grounder back to Raiders pitcher Jordan Patterson, who turned and fired to McCann to start a double play. Lutchenkov appeared to beat the throw to first baseman Blake James as what would have been the tying run crossed the plate, but Lutchenkov was punched out by the umpire.
In the sixth inning, Mt. Hebron orchestrated another strong scoring opportunity, as Matt Ansaldi drew a leadoff walk and Jordan Bellido de Luna was hit by a pitch. After Patterson recorded a strikeout, Chris Anderson smacked a hard line drive to right field, but Matthew Gross charged it, made a shoestring catch and fired to first for the inning ending double play.
On Wednesday, the Vikings defeated Marriotts Ridge, 2-1, on an RBI single by Bellido de luna in the sixth. Mark Smith outdueled Mustangs ace Michael Dorsch, allowing only one hit in seven innings. (See related video)
Atholton 9, Oakland Mills 2
Glenelg 17, Long Reach 14 (8 innings)
Howard 8, Hammond 3
Mt. Hebron 2, Marriotts Ridge 1
Reservoir 9, Wilde Lake 1
River Hill 14, Centennial 3
Hammond at Glenelg
Long Reach at Atholton
Mt. Hebron at Howard
Reservoir at Centennial
River Hill at Marriotts Ridge
Marriotts Ridge, 8-4
Mt. Hebron, 7-5
River Hill, 7-4
Long Reach, 3-7
Wilde Lake, 2-10
Oakland Mills, 0-11