Century’s offense, as potent as any in the area, has been predicated on home runs. After all, the Knights came into the Class 2A state semifinals with 38 dingers on the year.
They didn’t need any Wednesday against Hereford, which soon discovered just how dangerous its opponent can be. Century started strong and kept the pressure on the Bulls to win 9-0 at Harford Community College.
A sixth consecutive win put Century (19-3) into the 2A final in its first state tournament appearance — the Knights will face La Plata on Saturday at Ripken Stadium.
They didn’t go deep, but it didn’t matter.
Century collected 11 hits and made Hereford use three pitchers before the fifth inning was finished. A five-run frame broke the game open, and the Knights let Tyler Roach try to cap the victory by pitching a no-hitter. The senior held the Bulls (8-12) without until the sixth, when Hunter Patrick laced a two-out single to right field.
Hereford avoided the ignominy, finshing with two hits, but not the loss.
Matt Born led Century with four RBIs and was one of five Knights with two hits. Jared Lamb drove in a pair of runs and scored twice, while Jeremy Lapp and Michael Marrale also scored two times.
The Knights struck for three runs in the second inning, keyed by Born’s two-run triple to right. Born added a two-run single in the fifth that saw Century sent 10 batters to the plate.
Roach struck out six and walked six, but held Hereford in check before Jared Lamb took over in the seventh. The junior walked one but struck out the side to end the game, and received accolades from his teammates and coaches along the first-base line.
Century’s defense made a statement in the first inning. Roach walked Connor Mann with one out, and Mann got to second with two outs when Jimmy Kells sent a fly ball down the right-field line. The ball sliced toward the wall along the perimeter of the field, but Lapp raced over and timed his jump to snag the ball before it landed out of play.
Hereford loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Roach posted a strikeout and got Mitch Larrabee to hit into a fielder’s choie to end the threat.
Century led 9-0 by then, which likely relaxed Roach and Lamb and allowed them to pitch with a comfortable lead.
La Plata defeated North East 11-5 in the other semifinal and will be going after its third state championship and second in three seasons.
The Knights won their program’s first regional title earlier this week by beating Walkersville, a team that defeated them early in the regular season.
They’re averaging 16 runs per game in the playoffs.
Century 031 050 0 — 9 11 1
Hereford 000 000 0 — 0 2 4
C-Tyler Roach, Jared Lamb (7) and Michael Marrale; H-Chase Crawford, Aaron Winsker (5), Hunter Patrick (5) and Jon Wancowicz. 2B: C-Nathanael Hibbs, Jeremy Lapp. 3B: C-Matt Born. WP Roach. LP: Crawford.