ELDERSBURG — Century's offense proved productive in the first three innings of Friday's matchup with South Carroll.
The Knights got homers from Nathanael Hibbs and Zach Raico, scored six runs, and appeared ready to turn the game into a rout.
Instead, the Cavaliers made it a close game. They scored five runs off starter Tyler Roach in the fourth but he buckled down and kept the lead into the sixth before Dylan Hairfield got the final five outs, and Century escaped with a 7-5 victory over South Carroll in a Carroll County Athletic League game on a cold, windy afternoon.
Century kept finding ways to score even though its offense wasn't repeatedly getting hits. The Knights, in fact, ended up with only seven but that proved enough because errors, walks and balks led directly to all seven of their runs.
"When [you] make mistakes, Century makes you pay," South Carroll coach Brian Zawacki said. "They're a tremendous ballclub on offense."
Hibbs struck first, belting a two-run homer to left-center in the first for a 2-0 lead. His ball cut through a strong wind blowing in towards home plate and gave Century (8-2, 7-0 in the county) a quick lead.
"I was just looking for a good pitch," said Hibbs, who also walked three times and scored two runs. "I was looking for a ball I could drive. I wasn't sure with the wind blowing in if [the ball would carry]."
His homer came one out after Dylan Breitenbach reached on an error. In the third, South Carroll starter Josh Kaye walked the first two batters and gave up a one-out double to Jared Lamb and then balked in a run to make it 4-0.
Raico homered — again through the wind — to deep center one out later. His two-run shot made it 6-0.
Roach breezed through the first three innings but ran into big trouble in the fourth as the first five batters reached. He allowed two RBI singles before Dan McGuire hit a three-run homer to right, cutting the lead to 6-5.
However, Roach then retired the next seven batters before Century coach Michael Marrale pulled him with one out in the sixth. Hairfield took care of the rest.
"I liked when [Roach] came back after that one bad inning and fought through it," Marrale said. "It helped quite a bit."
Even though South Carroll got five runs on four hits in the fourth, the Cavaliers (3-6, 3-6) managed only one hit the rest of the way — and Century pushed across a key insurance run in the bottom of the sixth off relief pitcher Mason Currence.
Breitenbach led off with a single to right which that skipped past Jonathan Money, who had just moved over from center. Money tried to slide and catch or block the ball but it was a tough play, and the ball eluded him. The two-base error let Breitenbach get to third.
Mike Marrale followed with a sacrifice fly to right which gave the Knights a 7-5 lead, and that proved to be enough. Century was glad to get that extra run after giving up five in the fourth.
"[We thought] OK, now we've got a ballgame," Raico said. "It was kind of a wake-up call."
It was the kind of wake-up call that the Knights did not appear they would need early in the game. However, this was a win they had to battle for — and finally got.
South Carroll 000 500 0 0 — 5 6 2
Century 204 001 x — 7 7 1
Latest Carroll County High School Sports
SC-Josh Kaye, Mason Currence (6) and Reed Schumaker; C-Tyler Roach, Dylan Hairfield (6) and Mike Marrale. 2B: SC-Alex Hess; C-Jared Lamb; HR: SC-Dan McGuire; C-Nathaneel Hibbs, Zach Raico.