Arundel outfielder Syeed Mahdi was very frustrated with his last at bat for in the bottom of the sixth for Arundel. As it turned out, his pop-up was just the trick.
Mahdi's seeing-eye single found a hole between three Chesapeake (10-1, 9-1) players, allowing two runs to score, and giving the No. 4 Wildcats a 5-4 victory over the No. 5 Cougars in a key Anne Arundel County League game.
Mahdi led Arundel (10-0, 9-0) with a triple and two singles. Michael Hinely pitched the final two innings to get the win.
"It landed, and that's all that matters," said Mahdi, a senior. "The credit should go to my teammates on base. They knew the situation and took off running. They ran hard the whole time. They're the reason we won the game."
The inning started with the Wildcats trailing, 4-3. Chesapeake pitcher Andrew Spinnenweber got the first two outs on a strikeout and a pop-up, but then started to tire a bit. He gave up a single to David Martin, followed by a walk to Andrew Cassard. With the two men on, Mahdi popped the ball up.
The Cougars' first baseman, second baseman, and right fielder all converged on the ball in short right field, but the ball fell between them. One of the players picked up the ball and fired it toward the plate, but the ball went past the catcher and Cassard just beat out a throw to the pitcher covering to score the winning run.
"That's not the way we want to play," Arundel manager Jason Lively. "This game had a playoff atmosphere, and the ball fell our way. It's just one of those things."
Lively said he was pleased with his team's effort. The Wildcats rallied from two deficits in the game.
"I think we showed great character and great poise," he said. "Two weeks ago, I don't think that run would have scored."
Lively also praised Hinely's effort on the mound in the top of the seventh inning.
"He struck out in the bottom of the sixth, and I wondered whether that would affect him," Lively said. "I looked him in the eye and he said, 'coach, I got this.' Then he went out and pounded the strike zone. He's a quality pitcher."
Hinely forced a ground out, a pop-up and struck out one batter to end the game.
Chesapeake manager Kenny King said his team's defense played a part in the loss.
"I just feel like it was a game of big plays, and the big moment got us last," King said. "We missed three fly balls that dropped in, and they took advantage of our mistakes. Give them credit. Arundel's a good team, and they won the game."
Arundel 5, Chesapeake-AA 4
C 011 011 0 – 4 6 3
A 001 202 x – 5 9 2
Spinnenweber and Rose; Looser, Quattrochi (3), Hinely (6) and Gall. 3B: A- Madhi. 2B: A – Martin, Gall.