The last time Reservoir ace Cody Morris walked off the mound at Atholton, he was not in a good mood.
The junior, who has committed to pitch for the University of South Carolina and is expected to be selected in this year's Major League Baseball first-year player draft, had struck out 10 batters and allowed only two hits through six innings, but watched Atholton celebrate a walkoff 3-2 victory on an RBI single by Dan McCann with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
"The last game was a tough one to lose. It was really bad at the end, losing the way we did with a walk off," said Morris, whose team stranded 12 basertunners in that loss. "I didn't have my best stuff, and we left a lot of runners in scoring position."
But in the rematch on May 14, Morris made sure that things went differently, pitching a complete game three-hit shut out to send Reservoir to the 3A East regional championship game at Mt. Hebron on Friday.
"Today we came out and we really wanted to get revenge ... It was probably the best game we've played all year and it feels good right now," said Morris, who walked two batters and hit one in the 5-0 victory. "Today just felt different when I got on the mound and just the atmosphere in our dugout. I knew from the beginning that we had this one."
Because Atholton used ace Michael Slayton to get past Glenelg, 9-5, in the quarterfinals on Monday, the Raiders used a combination of Dan McCann and Nick Raulin on Wednesday.
Reservoir scored first in the second when Paul Quattrone scampered home from third on a two base error off the bat of Jon Mierzwa, then tacked on two more when Joe Kearney singled home Danny O'Hagan in the third and Jack Barry took home on a throwing error when Kearney stole second.
As it turned out, three runs were more than enough for Morris.
"I was throwing my breaking ball better and I had sharper bite on it. I threw a few change ups but not many because they'd be on it. I had better stuff today, but fastball command was definitely what did it," he said. "The whole game I was trying to pitch to contact and it worked, I got a lot of outs, not many strikeouts but we won 5-0 so thats all that matters."
Mt. Hebron knocked off Long Reach, 7-3, on the other side of the bracket to set up Friday's regional title game.
"We've gotten to this point the last two years, and we haven't gotten past it, so we're looking forward to this," coach Adam Leader said. "Our goal when we got to the playoffs was we wanted to be playing really good baseball, and I'm glad that's where we're at."
Atholton was led in the loss by Brady Acker, who drew a walk and had one of the Raiders' three singles, and made an outstanding sliding catch in deep right center field in the top of the seventh to keep a glimmer of hope alive.
"I just figured it's probably the last fly ball I'm going to get in high school so I might as well just give it my all, so I sprinted as fast as I could," said Acker, who has committed to play for George Mason next year. "A few of us are going on to play next year, so it's a little easier on us. But some of the guys who are never going to play again, I feel bad for them that it ended a little early."
Atholton committed two costly errors, hit three batters, hit into two double plays, and stranded six baserunners in the loss.
"I'm proud of our guys, but we did not play our best baseball game," Atholton coach Jon Dupski said. "It's how the playoffs work, you lose one game and you're out. We saw their best when we weren't able to use our best ... I told Coach Leader before the game that I really felt like whoever wins this game has a great shot at the state championship."
Reservoir scored two insurance runs in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Joey Janush and a sac fly by O'Hagan.
Re (16-1, 19-2) 012 002 0 - 5 8 0
A (17-0, 19-2) 000 000 0 - 0 3 2
Morris and O'Hagan. McCann, Raulin (3) and Bagley.
2B: Re — Barry, Janush.
Calvert 3, Marriotts Ridge 2
Mt. Hebron 7, Long Reach 3