Century has experienced an up-and-down start to its baseball season, and things look to be picking up for the Knights.
The reigning county champions, along with many of their Carroll County Athletic League foes, are primed for a four-game week. Century starts Monday at home against Winters Mill, hosts Francis Scott Key on Tuesday, visits Liberty on Wednesday, and travels to FSK on Friday.
The Knights are 2-2 (1-0 in the county), but have followed each win with a loss. This week gives them a chance to find some stability.
Jeremy Lapp started Century's game Friday against McDonogh and pitched four innings, giving himself a chance for a win against a private-school opponent. The Eagles saved their best for last however, and scored seven runs in the seventh inning to pull out an 8-7 victory.
Still, Century has played four close games and could be 4-0 — the Knights had a 4-0 lead against Walkersville on March 31 before the Lions scored five runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to win 6-5.
Nathanael Hibbs has two doubles and Tyler Roach has a triple, which he collected in the McDonogh game. Century has used Lapp, Ethan Kiple, and Rob Martin as its main pitchers so far.
Knights coach Mike Marrale is already motivating his players as if the regional playoffs are looming.
"Every player on our team, or any team for that matter, should be playing as if it is the last game they ever play," Marrale said via email, and he acknowledged the long week ahead with four county games. "Every player on every one of these teams should have the mentality to leave it all on the field — no regrets no matter who you are playing."
Liberty (2-2, 2-0) has county wins over Westminster and Manchester Valley, both tight contests. The Lions beat the Owls 6-5 last Wednesday and held off the Mavericks 6-4 on Friday.
Liberty's other loss came against Chesapeake, 2-1 on March 27.
Liberty has a three-game week coming up with road games Monday at Key and Friday at Winters Mill wrapped around the Century game.
Michael Parris has been an offensive threat so far for the Lions — the junior infielder had two hits and three RBIs against Westminster, and drove in three runs in Thursday's 5-4 loss to Glenelg. Parris added another RBI in the victory over Man Valley.
The Mavericks led 4-3 in the fifth inning, but Liberty roared back with one run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take the lead.
Blaine Roach pitched well against Chesapeake, going 6 2/3 innings and striking out seven — the Lions allowed the game-winning run to score with two outs in the seventh inning.
Century defeated Liberty twice last year during the regular season, en route to a 12-0 county record and the program's first championship.