South River coach Ken Dunn announced he would retire after coaching his last game this season, so his players gave him the perfect parting gift. — the school's first baseball state championship.
The No. 3 Seahawks defeated No. 8 Catonsville, 6-0, in the Class 4A final Friday at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.
"This was a great ride," Dunn said. "The kids did a great job. "It's not about me. It's about those kids. ... This win was about everybody that has been in the program."
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Ripken Stadium, 873 Long Drive, Aberdeen, MD 21001, USA
South River (20-5) was playing in the state final for the first time since losing to Thomas Johnson in 1983. Catonsville (17-5) was seeking its first state title since 1976, which was the only other time the Comets reached the final.
South River senior Scott Mitchell pitched a two-hit shutout and belted two doubles to bolster the Seahawks' offense.
Mitchell — who threw 97 pitches, 63 strikes — and Catonsville pitcher JD Klein took center stage in the early innings.
Mitchell was perfect through the first three innings, aided by a diving catch in left-center from Nick Raimondo that robbed Joey Getzendanner of a hit.
"It was our duty to win this one for Coach Dunn," Mitchell said. "He's been through more than everyone combined. He's the greatest man I've ever met. He just wants the best for everyone."
South River broke through for a run in the third inning when Connor Cox doubled off the base of the wall 310-feet deep in right field, scoring Kyle Canavan, who had doubled with one out.
Hustle by Catonsville right fielder Scott Beautz prevented a second run from scoring as Gabe Vertucci, who was hit by a pitch, was stopped at third base.
South River added a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Jake Gratz's leadoff single was followed by a double from Nick Raimondo. Courtesy runner Jake Donaldson scored on an error, and Raimondo came in on a sacrifice fly by Canavan.
Mitchell lost his perfect game bid in the bottom of the fourth when he walked leadoff batter Robbie Wheelton, but he struck out the side and stranded Wheelton at second.
The Seahawks added a run in the top of the fifth after Mitchell led off with a double and scored two outs later on a check-swing infield single by Brody Raimondo.
The suspense the rest of the way was whether Mitchell could complete a no-hitter.
In the fifth, he walked Ryan Whittington with one out, but he retired the next two batters on a force out and strikeout.
He allowed his first hit in the bottom of the sixth when Beautz lined a sharp single to left field. With runners on second and third, Mitchell notched a strikeout and then he deflected Danny Bruno's sharp liner up the middle and threw him out to keep Catonsville off the scoreboard.
Ryan Whittington singled in the bottom of the seventh for the Comets only other hit.
"We got beat by a better team," Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said. "They hit the ball hard, and their pitcher was a great pitcher."
South River 0 0 1 2 1 2 0 — 6 9 1
Catonsville 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 2 3
Doubles SR-Canavan, N, Raimondo, Cox, Mitchell 2.