Dulaney sophomore pitcher Todd Mozoki earned the victory and senior David Mathai notched the save as the Lions (10-1), nipped visiting Northeast A.A. in Thursday afternoon baseball action.
Mozoki hurled 6 2/3 innings and allowed five hits, while striking out seven.
The Lions got three runs in the second inning, keyed by run-scoring singles by Tyler Tufano and Connor Stewart.
Trailing 4-1 in the top of the seventh, the Eagles mounted a rally with two outs and nobody on.
Jan-Michael Finch started the uprising with a hit and, after Roco Tyree walked, Mozoki was relieved by Gabe Piche`.
He walked Austin Dillon to load the bases and Brian Titus stroked a two-run singled off new reliever Mathai, making it 4-3.
Mathai fanned Colby Sanders with a nasty curve ball to end the game.
The game also featured some sloppy defense as both teams committed three errors, but the Lions also made some key defensive plays to thwart Northeast rallies.
The first came in the top of the second, after singles by Eric Walters and Duncan Katzenberger led to a double-steal attempt with one out.
Walters reached third, but Dulaney junior catcher Finn Drew gunned down the trail runner, Katzenberger, at second.
Mozoki fanned Finch to end the inning.
With one out and a runner on first in the third, after the Lions scored their three runs, Dulaney shortstop Bryce Frederick went deep in the 6-hole and gunned out Brian Titus for the second out.
“That was a big-league play, but I’d be lying if I told you that I’m not surprised or haven’t seen him make that play a lot,” Dulaney coach Ryan Wolfsheimer said.
The biggest defensive play came in the top of the sixth with Northeast trailing, 4-1.
Colby Sanders stroked a one-out single and advancde to second on an outfield error on the play.
He moved to third on a ground out and, after Walters walked with two outs, Sanders was throw out at home by Drew while trying to advance on a wild pitch.
“We practice that a million times and Finn is a great hustler and ran and threw a perfect throw and I was at the spot and got the tag down,” Mozoki said.
Drew just knew he had to make a play.
“In those situations, you’ve just got to be athletic, you can’t be a robot, so when I saw that ball bounce off the backstop and come back far I was like, I gotta bare-hand this play and make it,” Drew said. “It was just kind of a crazy throw but when you think about it, that was a big play.”
Dulaney’s three runs in the second stemmed from key hits from the lower part of the lineup.
After Ryan Conroy was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Cole McGee stroked an opposite field hit and Tufano plated Conroy with a stroke through the 6-hole.
“That was exciting to see because Tufano is a four-year varsity player and he just got back a couple of days ago from an injury (elbow) he got in the offseason and he got a nice hit to get us going,” Wolfsheimer said. “Cole has been struggling with the stick and we’ve been trying a couple of new things with him and it seems like it is starting to pick up, he’s getting that confidence and he had a nice little base hit to left field today to keep the inning going and to bring it to Tufano.”
Stewart drove in the second run with a deep single to right field and Tufano scored the third run on a wild pitch,
Northeast got on board with an unearned run in the fourth inning that scored after a ground out by Evan Belew.
Dulaney added a key insurance run in the fourth after singles by Tufano and J.R, Harrison opened the inning with hits.
Tufano was picked off first base by catcher Titus, but Harrison came home after a throwing error, following Mozoki’s infield hit.
Mozoki (1-for-4) and Frederick (0-for-2, two walks) combined for only one hit, but Wolfsheimer knows everybody has to hit to keep the momentum into the playoffs.
Frederick is only six hits shy of becoming Dulaney’s all-time career hits leader.
“It’s nice that those guys (lower in the lineup) turned it over, normally Bryce and Todd are just raking for us and it was good to see those other guys pitch in because we know what type of team we are, we need everybody to scrap in every day, we are a role team, we are nothing special,” Wolfsheimer said.
Northeast coach Adam Bolling may not agree.
“They are an extremely well-coached team over there and they are a good team and their record speaks for it,” Bolling said. “We are a .500 team now. That (7-7 record) doesn’t mean much come tournament time,” Bolling said. “Everybody gets to the dance and we are building up and that’s why we go after teams like Dulaney and North Harford that are in our tournament with us because they are extremely good baseball teams.”
Dulaney will play North Harford on Monday at Northeast and so will Northeast to conclude the tournament.
Bolling expects his squad to fight to the end just like they did against Dulaney.
“These guys aren’t scared of anybody,”
Bolling said. “In the county we play in there are no pushovers.”
That’s whey he wasn’t surprised his squad rallied in the seventh.
“We are used to that, we felt comfortable,” he said. “We continued to preach as a coaching staff, these guys have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We want to play from our backs sometimes and close games like this are going to make us better for the playoffs.”
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