As its 9-1 record shows, the Marriotts Ridge baseball team has been doing it all this spring: hitting, pitching and playing defense.
But rarely have the Mustangs put it all together the way they did in a 10-0 win over visiting River Hill April 15.
Hanging eight runs in the first inning and sending 12 batters to the plate, Marriotts Ridge could have afforded to allow a few runs across the next few innings and still have kept a comfortable lead.
Instead, ace Eric Brown shut the Hawks down, pitching a complete game 5-inning one-hitter, striking out five without a walk. Brown allowed only two baserunners in the game: a Shrawan Sinha bloop single in the first inning, and a Richie Lancashire hit-by-pitch in the third.
"Anytime you throw a snow man up there you like your chances, and particularly with Eric on the mound," coach Paul Eckert said.
Eckert said that he didn't worry about the mindset of his veteran senior, even after waiting around for the 40-pitch first inning to conclude before getting back out onto the mound.
"I don't fool around with Eric Brown too much, he knows what he's doing and he knows how to handle the situation," Eckert said. "He's been through it before. I didn't say a word to him. He is one of those kids that gets zoned in during the game and stays zoned in somehow. He was fine."
While Brown delivered his gem, the Mustangs tacked on additional runs in the second and fourth innings, on a pair of RBIs by Kevin Francis.
But the bulk of the damage came in the first inning.
The big blows in that frame were a Michael Dorsch triple, a two-run double by Eric Augustino, and RBI singles by Kevin Ross, Wes Carson and Matt Marinelli (2-for-2, stolen base). Also in the first inning, Connor Delaney drew the first of his three walks and scored the first of his three runs.
"I think we've always had consistent hitting this year, which has been a struggle for us in the past," said Augustino, whose double put the Mustangs ahead, 4-0, with only one out in the first. "With a runner on third I was just trying to put it in play and then he gave me a pitch right there and I turned on it and got it right down the line where no one was."
The game also featured spectacular defense by Marriotts Ridge. Ryan Miller made five putouts in center field, including all three in the fourth inning, and third baseman Michael Dorsch and shortstop Jake Bender each made nifty pickups to catch baserunners at first. Bender's assist in the fifth inning was the seventh consecutive out recorded by Brown, and ended the game.
"It was a great way to end the ball game with a spectacular play there," said Augustino, the first baseman. "All I have to do is catch the ball when he makes a play like that."
Marriotts Ridge next faces Reservoir on Wednesday, with a showdown against Oakland Mills, the last undefeated team, looming on Friday.
"They've got two good pitchers (Joe Zayatz and Kyle Madden-Stricker), they've got a pretty athletic team and they were very good last year," Eckert said of Oakland Mills. "It's surprising that anybody is undefeated because I think that anybody could beat anybody on any given day, but ... they're a pretty good ball team."
Around the league
Atholton 8, Long Reach 0
Brady Acker led the Raiders offense with two singles, a walk, two steals and an RBI, while Nick Raulin took care of business on the mound, allowing only one hit and striking out five in five innings to earn the win.
Raiders catcher Paul Burmester doubled twice, singled and drove in three runs.
Hammond 8, Glenelg 3
Derek Sicca led the Golden Bears past the Gladiators, pitching the complete game (8 strikeouts, 4 walks) and launching a grand slam in the five-run fourth inning that broke the game open.
Alex Melcher homered as one of Glenelg's four hits, and Luke Brister had two RBIs.
Howard 6, Mt. Hebron 5
Lions junior lefty Mark Reagan held the Vikings in check for four innings, leaving the game in the fifth with a 4-1 lead. But Mt. Hebron rallied in that frame to take a 5-4 lead, highlighted by a three-run triple by Marty Stevenson. Howard then swung the momentum back in its favor to go up, 6-5, and reliever Sean Crawford retired the final six outs in order to secure the win.
Oakland Mills 5, Wilde Lake 1
Evan Russell pitched a complete game three-hitter at Wilde Lake, striking out five and walking three. Kyle Madden-Stricker and Mike Mastandrea each drove in two runs. Jack Skolnik (triple) and Nick Wright (RBI) each had hits for WIlde Lake. Brandon Pelletier drew a pair of walks and scored the Wildecats' only run.
On Tuesday, Oakland Mills will host Atholton.
Reservoir 6, Centennial 5
Glenelg Country 16, Pallotti 2
Glenelg Country School pounded out 18 hits in an MIAA B Conference win on Monday. Jack Dougherty led the way with three hits including a home run and a double, knocking in five runs. Seven Dragon batters had multiple hits, with Matt Sheehan joining Dougherty in the three-hit club.
Miguel Flores, Colby Manekin, Will Seiferth, Logan Smith and Cameron Clifton each collected two hits. Drew Davis added a base clearing double for three RBI.
On the mound, Dylan Farnella earned the win, scattering six hits and two earned runs.