Catonsville High celebrated the return of senior Danny Bruno by scoring seven runs in the first inning on the way to a 12-2 victory over visiting Lansdowne High on Thursday afternoon.
Bruno, playing in his first game since having Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm in late October, went 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBIs in the win.
He drove in the first run of the game on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the first inning.
That followed a one-out double by Scott Beautz and consecutive walks by JD Klein and Joey Getzendanner.
"I was just looking for a pitch to hit and I got hit," said Bruno, who batted .355 with 16 RBIs for the Comets last season when they went to the state championship game and lost to South River.
In his second at bat, he drilled a line drive home run over the left field fence to give Catonsville an 8-0 lead.
"I was just looking for a good pitch and I got it," said Bruno, smiling at the fastball delivered down the middle.
After he got plunked to drive in the first run, the Comets' offense started peppering the Vikings in a variety of ways.
Anthony Pehr dribbled an RBI infield hit that nestled 25 feet inside the chalk on the first base line for a 2-0 lead.
Junior Lee Wolfe was next up with the bases loaded and he stroked a three-run double to right center field, after falling behind 0-1 in the count.
"He came down to me and said 'I don't know what I was thinking on that first pitch,'" said Catonsville coach Rich Hambor. "Sometimes, that is just a little over-thinking instead of playing baseball."
After Jake Smuck reached on an infield hit and stole second, Wolfe scored on a fielders choice by Matt LaPrade.
LaPrade scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch.
Although the Comets had three infield hits and a couple of extra base-hits in the inning, Lansdowne coach Matt Kohel wasn't making excuses.
"That's baseball," he said. "If we can eliminate some of the other things and not put the ball down the middle of the plate, that changes everything," said Kohel, whose 4-6 team had won three straight games and allowed only 13 runs in its past four games.
Catonsville (5-5 in the state rankings, 5-7 overall) tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth inning on a run-scoring double by Bruno and RBI single by Garrett Wack.
They ended it in the bottom of the fifth after Klein doubled and scored on an error and Tim Smith plated pinch runner David Lake for the final run.
Lansdowne's scoring came on an RBI double by Joe D'Urso in the third inning and a run-scoring ground out in the fourth that plated Shane Chaffman, who had singled and stole second.
Catonsville pitchers Chris Jay, Jake Willis and Spencer Singh combined to allow just three hits in the 5-inning tilt.
D'Urso and Tyler Crawford hurled for the Vikings.
"We jumped out in the first inning like we've been getting jumped on in the last couple of games," Hambor said. "I asked them to start right off the bat and they did."
Baltimore County baseball results
Western Tech 12 Woodlawn 4
Loch Raven 16 Franklin 14
Perry Hall 15 Towson 5
Pikesville 19 New Town 10