As competitive as the Howard County league has been so far — coming into Friday's games four teams were 3-3 — it's a long shot that anyone will make it through the regular season unscathed.
But Glenelg, which improved to 7-0 (10-0 overall) with a 5-0 win at Marriotts Ridge on Friday afternoon, has been playing some pretty good baseball so far.
"We're off to an unbelievably great start. It's a tribute to the way the boys have been practicing and the unselfishness. Just playing like a team is all we're doing," coach Dave Boteler said. "When we sat down and made our goals for the season, undefeated was never one of the goals ... (but) we're going to go out and try to win every game obviously. We're off to as good of a start as Glenelg has ever been off to."
The young Gladiators, who have four sophomores and only four seniors on their roster, have had close calls, including one-run wins over Howard (6-5), Centennial (2-1) and Mt. Hebron (9-8), a 3-1 win over Atholton, and a 13-8 win over Oakland Mills after being tied in the seventh inning.
With a team batting average of. 305, a team ERA of 1.80 and a team fielding percentage of .934, Glenelg has won with hitting, pitching and fielding.
"On the days when the pitching is not quite there, the bats have picked us up, defense has been there on the days when we needed it. We're not killing anybody, because the county is so tough," Boteler said.
In Friday's win at Marriotts Ridge, sophomore Tyler Hoeflich — who has yet to allow an earned run — pitched a complete game five-hit shut out, striking out five and walking one.
"He's been locating his pitches, mixing it up very nicely, working inside and out," Boteler said. "His stuff is not overpowering but he locates everything."
After the first inning, Marriotts Ridge sophomore Michael Dorsch was just as good.
He faced the minimum nine batters between the second and fourth innings, striking out the side in the fourth, and yielded only four hits. He also singled twice.
There was the matter of that first inning though. Glenelg's leadoff man, sophomore David Brookhart, reached base after being hit by a pitch, and then Luke Brister singled. Combined, Brookhart and Brister have scored 24 runs and stolen 22 bases on the season.
With one out, sophomore Alex Melcher singled up the middle to plate Brookhart and Brister. Hoeflich then drew a walk, and Nick Crabill singled to drive in Melcher.
Dylan Waddell drove in the final run of the inning on a sac fly to deep center.
Dorsch "had one rough inning early on, then he settled down and pitched well," coach Paul Eckert said. "But their boy didn't have any rough innings."
Glenelg's only other run came in the fifth inning, when Brookhart tripled and scored on a wild pitch. But the five runs were more than enough for Hoeflich.
"My curve was working really good today, it was snapping off real nice. I was doing whatever I had to to get those guys out and help my team," said Hoeflich, who spent all of last season on JV. "My fastball was working, my change-up was working, it was all working."
Marriotts Ridge's best scoring chance came in the third, when Ben Ferraro hit a two-out triple to left field. Clean-up hitter David Menker followed with a long fly ball to center field, but Crabill reeled it in.
On Monday, Glenelg will host defending county champion Reservoir, which hasn't lost since opening day.
"That should be a very good game on Monday," Eckert said. "If we weren't playing I'd be there watching."
G (7-0) 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 - 5 4 1
MR (3-4) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 5 1
Hoeflich and Sancomb. Dorsch, Lein (7) and Menker.
3B: Ferraro (MR), Brookhart (G).
Long Reach 8, Wilde Lake 7 (8 innings)
Long Reach ended a 33-game league losing streak, defeating Wilde Lake, 8-7, in eight innings on Friday afternoon. Long Reach's last win against a county opponent was an 8-7 win over Oakland Mills on April 16, 2010.
Long Reach's Brandon Cave singled, scored and drove in two runs. Alec Taylor singled, doubled and scored twice. Cole Phillips earned the win in relief.
Nick Wright homered for Wilde Lake, and Kyle Amoroso (2-3, 2 R) and Brandon Pelletier (3-4, 2 RBI, 2 R) each doubled. Steven Ecker also had a pair of hits and drove in two runs.
The last time Long Reach defeated Wilde Lake was in April of 2008.
Reservoir 4, Mt. Hebron 0
Gators freshman Cody Morris had one of the finest pitching performances of the season on Friday, tossing a complete game two-hit shut out with 14 strikeouts and no walks. Danny O'Hagan and Bryan Davidson doubled for Reservoir.
Atholton 4, Howard 1
The Raiders took a 3-1 lead in the first inning, and pitcher Michael Slayton made it stick, striking out five, allowing seven hits, one walk and no earned runs.
Austin Feuerman had two hits, including a two-run triple in the first inning. Slayton also drove in a run.
River Hill 17, Oakland Mills 2
The Hawks scored seven runs in the first inning and eight in the fourth on their way to victory over visiting Oakland Mills.
Richie Lancashire and Jason Freishtat (2-4) each scored three times, Drew Pritchard was 3-4 with three runs driven in, and Evan Griffin (2 R), Nick Riso (3 RBI) and Sam Kolodrubetz all collected two base hits. Shrawan Sinha hit a two-run double and Mas St. George also drove in a pair of runs.
Evan Russell (2B) and Joe Zayatz drove in the runs for Oakland Mills.
Centennial 8, Hammond 5
The Eagles scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth on the way to an 8-5 win over visiting Centennial. Centennial doubled four times in the win.
Hammond was led by Ben Miller, who doubled twice and drove in two runs.
River Hill, 6-1
Marriotts Ridge, 3-4
Oakland Mills, 3-4
Long Reach, 1-6
Mt. Hebron, 1-6
Wilde Lake, 0-7
MIAA B Conference
Glenelg Country junior Jack Dougherty threw a complete game no-hit shut out at Boys Latin on Thursday afternoon, striking out nine Lakers.
At the plate Will Seiferth tripled and Miguel Flores hit a two-run home run. Tyler Henderson also drove in three runs and Cameron Clifton had a pair of hits in the win.
GCS 1 7 0 0 2 - 10 8 2
BL 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 0 2