In arguably his most dominant performance of a 2012 season full of them, North Harford mound ace Kevin Mooney was nearly untouchable in Wednesday afternoon's UCBAC baseball championship game.
Mooney tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout to lead the Chesapeake Division champion Hawks over Susquehanna Division champion Rising Sun, 6-0, for North Harford's first conference title.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Harford Community College, but was moved to North Harford's home field, with Rising Sun playing as the host squad.
Mooney, who moved to 7-0 on the year with the win, held the Tigers lineup hitless through the first six innings.
In the bottom half of the seventh, the second Rising Sun batter laid down a bunt and scampered to first base for a single. That, however, would be the only offense Tigers could muster, and Mooney retired the side to preserve the shutout.
In their 18 previous contests through the 2012 season, the Tigers (17-2) had not once been held scoreless, and were limited to less than five runs only three times.
"Kevin threw another gem," North Harford head coach Tim Larrimore said, summing up his number-one pitcher's performance. "The only hit he allowed all day was that bunt single in the seventh. He struck out 17 of the 21 outs today. All three of his pitches were just nasty today."
Mooney's 17 strikeouts were his highest single-game total of the season, and Wednesday's game marked the third straight contest in which he's reached double-digit strikeouts, having recorded 15 on April 30 against Patterson Mill and 11 in an April 25 matchup with Bel Air.
The Hawks got things going offensively early, with Cody Brittain lofting a sacrifice fly that allowed Brady Maguire to tag and score North Harford's first run, and Mooney belting an RBI triple that gave his team a 2-0 advantage.
In the second inning North Harford was back at it, as Maguire knocked home teammate Alec Mouring with an RBI single, and Ryan Stinar followed with his own RBI base hit that allowed Maguire to score.
North Harford's Jesse McBain stroked an RBI single in the third frame, giving the Hawks a 5-0, and Brandon Wooten followed suit in the next inning, driving home the winning side's final run with a base hit.
The Hawks' Jon Hammer rapped out a pair of hits, in the victory.
With the win, North Harford, which clinched its first Chesapeake Division championship on April 30 with a 3-1 win over second-place Patterson Mill, moved to 19-2 on the season. The Hawks went 13-1 against Chesapeake Division teams, with their lone loss coming to Patterson Mill on April 11.
Tech drops CMW
The Harford Tech Cobras earned their second victory over a Chesapeake (upper) Division opponent Tuesday, knocking off the visiting C. Milton Wright Mustangs, 11-1, in five innings.
With the win, the Harford Tech boys, who wrapped up Susquehanna (lower) Division play with a 13-1 record, improved to 16-2, while the Mustangs (8-4 Chesapeake) fell to 10-8 overall.
Tuesday's contest was halted after the fifth inning by the 10-run mercy rule.
The Cobras kicked things off with a three-run rally in the first, added six more in the second and scored their final two runs in the fifth. CMW plated its lone run in the fourth.
Cobra starter Travis Hash went the distance, holding CMW to one run on four hits and striking out one to get the win.
At the plate, Hash was 1-for-2 with a triple and three RBIs in the victory, while teammate Bryan Mason was 2-for-2 with one RBI. Harford Tech's Devin Chapman went 1-for-3 with one RBI, while Tyler Mister finished the game 2-for-3.
CMW's lone extra base hit came from Ryan Katelan, who walloped a double.
Edgewood (7-11 overall, 5-9 Susquehanna) wrapped up its lower division schedule Tuesday night with a 14-2 loss at home to the Bo Manor Eagles.
The Rams' Trey Hathaway stroked a double in the loss.
Playoff brackets set
Starting Friday, the MPSSAA baseball regional tournaments are under way, and each of Harford County's teams has been assigned seeds in their respective brackets
The 3A North tournament will see local teams meeting each other right from the start. Second-seeded North Harford received a first-round bye and will host the winner of Friday's contest at C. Milton Wright between seventh-seeded C. Milton Wright and 10th-seeded Aberdeen, on Monday. Bel Air, the 14th seed, will travel to play third seed Eastern Tech Friday.
The 2A East District VII Sectional tournament will see all five of its Harford County teams playing in Friday's opening round, as second-seeded Harford Tech hosts seventh-seeded Joppatowne, fourth-seeded Fallston hosts fifth-seeded Edgewood and sixth-seeded Patterson Mill travels to play third-seeded North East.
All alone in the 1A North tournament is ninth-seeded Havre de Grace, which crosses the Susquehanna Friday for a first-round matchup with eight-seeded Perryville.