Patterson Mill senior Mike Delinski raised his arm slowly toward his teammates' huddle after the Huskies had lost the Class 1A championship baseball game to defending champion St. Michael's, 4-0. The tears still glistened in his eyes.
Delinski had been the last man to the plate in a game that saw Patterson Mill held to five singles by St. Michael's senior Coty Mulder. Delinski, the lead-off hitter, had singled in the first and made it as far as third before Mulder shut the door. Only two other Huskies, Joe Roman and Jimmy Salamone, would make it that far. Roman, Zach Zeller and Aaron Childs (two singles) would be the only other of his teammates to get hits.
"In our last game, the regional championship game, I hit a walk-off home run," said Delinski, who struck out to end Saturday's game. "This time, it didn't happen. This is the last time I'll raise my hand to the huddle. We put in our best effort, but it didn't happen for us today."
Mulder kept the Huskies off balance all day with a deceptive curve, and though the Huskies had led the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference in offense with 259 runs scored this season, they could not get one here.
But that should do little to dull the happiness for No. 7 Patterson Mill. The Huskies, who finish the season 20-5, were an unexpected finalist this season. The school is in just its second year of full enrollment, but with the leadership provided by seven seniors who had fielded the school's junior varsity program four years ago, the Huskies earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A North Region and won four straight games to make Saturday's final. Here they faced St. Michael's (21-2), a veteran club that has won three of the past four championships.
"First, you have to take your hat off to their pitcher," said Patterson Mill coach Matt Roseland. "We've got a lot to be proud of and I've never been prouder in my life. We played as hard as we could, but they won the game. They're a great team.
The feeling was mutual across the field. St. Michael's coach Brian Femi said he knew his team would "have a hard time hitting" a good left hander. When senior Adam Parks hit a home run in the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead, Femi was relieved. When his team scraped together three more runs in the fifth, thanks in part to a bloop single with two outs, he counted his blessings.
"The Patterson Mill pitcher was aggressive and we had to be, too," Femi said. "We had three seniors come through in the clutch and it's just so special to win with 12 seniors on the team."
Huskies pitcher Matt Golczewski, a junior, went the distance and allowed just two extra-base hits — a homer and a triple by Kyle McKelvey that drove in a run. Though Golczewski was sad that he and his teammates had lost, he was already looking to the future.
"The team we lost to is a great team and the defending champion," Golczewski said. "This is our first time and we're enjoying the moment as much as we can. We've got a lot of young players and we should be right back here next year."