Chesapeake's Drew Spinnenweber has pitched like the ace he is all year. Friday night was no exception.
The senior worked himself out of jams in the first and fifth innings and struck out 13 batters to lead the No. 4 Cougars of Anne Arundel County to a 2-0 win over Montgomery County's Sherwood (15-8) in the Class 4A state title game at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.
Spinnenweber helped his own cause with a double to start off the third. It was the only inning the Cougars scored in, and the only extra base hit in the game.
The victory capped a span of 32 consecutive innings in which the Chesapeake (23-2) pitching staff did not give up a run.
"It was a well-pitched game on both sides," Chesapeake head coach Kenny King said. "The difference was that we handled the heart of their order better than they handled the heart of ours."
King was especially complementary of Spinnenweber's effort.
"He's a real gamer," King said. "He comes from a family of athletes, and he has a great mentality. He wanted the ball, just like you'd expect, and he was dominant tonight."
Spinnenweber, who finished the season 9-1, said he felt good when he got to the mound.
"Everything worked tonight," he said. "I had all of my good stuff. It all worked."
The championship was the second in school history for the Cougars. The first was in 1997.
Chesapeake got to Warriors starter Brady Adam in the bottom of the third. Spinnenweber doubled to start the inning, and Adam hit John Drexel with a pitch to put two runners on. The Cougars Chris Ruszin singled into shallow center field to score Spinnenweber and Drexel and give Chesapeake a 2-0 lead.
"[Adam] is a very good pitcher," Spinnenweber said. "I knew what he was going to do. He'd get ahead, and then he'd throw his curveball. I knew it was coming, and I just drove it."
Said Ruszin: "I was just trying to hit the ball somewhere on the ground. Getting those two runs gave us the breathing room we needed. This is the formula we've used all year to win."
Sherwood's best opportunity to score came in the top of the fifth. Cameron Aud led off with a single, and Spinnenweber walked the next batter, Patrick Dunn. After a groundout, the Cougars intentionally walked Adam to load the bases. Spinnenweber then retired Bailey Doan and Neven Sussman on consecutive strikeouts to end the threat.
In the first inning, the Warriors had runners on second and third with one out before Spinnenweber struck out Matt Chanin and Jake Paholski to get out of the jam.
"I got myself into trouble there, but I never lost my confidence," Spinnenweber said. "I knew I could trust my defense and trust my stuff, and it worked out.
The win helped to erase a painful memory for King. In 2010, he was an assistant coach at Chesapeake when the Cougars lost in the state final to Sherwood. Warriors head coach Sean Davis was an assistant coach for Sherwood that day.
"We've been here a few times and it hasn't worked out," King said. "This is an amazing group of kids. They've talked about this for four years, and it finally came together for them. It feels great."
(at Ripken Stadium, Aberdeen)
Chesapeake-AA 2, Sherwood 0
SH 000 000 0 -- 0 2 0
CH 002 000 x -- 2 2 1
Adam and Aud; Spinnenweber and Rose. 2b: CH – Spinnenweber.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun