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North Harford advances in baseball playoffs behind Wittkamp’s pitching

North Harford pitcher Mitchell Wittkamp threw six strong innings Wednesday in the Hawks 7-1 playoff win over Rising Sun.
North Harford pitcher Mitchell Wittkamp threw six strong innings Wednesday in the Hawks 7-1 playoff win over Rising Sun. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

The North Harford Hawks advanced in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s regional baseball playoffs Wednesday, beating visiting Rising Sun, 7-1, in an Class 2A East, Region I semifinal.

Also in the win column Wednesday were Patterson Mill and C. Milton Wright. Harford Tech (7-9-1) was to play at North East (13-1), but the game was postponed and rescheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.

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In Pylesville, Hawks senior pitcher Mitchell Wittkamp shut the Tigers down on three hits and one earned run over six innings. He walked two, hit a batter and struck out seven. Senior Jeremy Weber pitched the final inning.

“I felt like I could get the fastball in, in my spots, but it was like the corners were a little shady, so I had to go to the off speed, which my cutter was my go-to like, get-me-over strike,” Wittkamp said. “I would go the curve ball, which they would swing over most of the time and then I liked to go to the high fastball that they swung at because they would think it was the curve ball and it would go down.”

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The Hawks (13-6) offense, meanwhile, didn’t exactly beat the baseball around, but they did take advantage of Rising Sun mistakes.

Two Rising Sun errors led to three North Harford runs in the first inning. Brian Hauer led off with a walk stole second base. Jeremy Weber then hit a fly ball to right field that should have been caught, but it was dropped and Hauer came around to score.

Wittkamp (1-2, two walks) the aided his own cause with an RBI double, plating Weber. Wittkamp’s courtesy runner Jackson Miller scored the inning’s third run when Kevin Halford reached on an error by the Tigers second baseman.

Rising Sun scored its lone run in the second inning. Senior Ethan Gullion ripped a Wittkamp pitch to the fence in left-center field for a leadoff triple. Matthew Lynch drove Gullion in with a single.

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The Tigers put two runners on in the fourth with no outs, but Wittkamp retired the next three batters to end the threat. In the fifth, Hawks shortstop Keegan Bowling stopped a possible Tigers opportunity with a 6-unassisted, 6-3 double play.

North Harford added a run in the second, courtesy another Rising Sun error. With runners on the corners and two outs, Miller, again running for Wittkamp, stole second. The Tigers tried to throw him out, but catcher Yogi England’s throw sailed high into the outfield, allowing the run to score.

The Hawks closed out the scoring with three runs in the fourth inning. Walks to Jeremy Weber and Wittkamp (Miller running) opened the inning and it sent Tigers starting pitcher Hayden Spioch to the bench. He allowed four hits and six walks, while striking out six.

Lynch came on in relief and struck out the first batter he faced. The next batter, though, Patrick Weber, singled to plate brother Jeremy Weber. Lynch then walked the next two batters, Charlie Canapp and Bowling (RBI), before getting the second out.

Another walk to Kole Iddings pushed across the third run of the inning and seventh run overall.

“I thought we played a very complete game, obviously we could have gotten a few more hits, but when the opportunities were there, we seemed like we got them or we were hitting the ball,” Hawks head coach Tim Larrimore said. “I thought we played great defense, pitching obviously was very solid. Mitch pitched a great game.”

The Hawks had 10 recent graduates make the trip back from the beach for the game. Wittkamp, who plans to attend and play baseball at Salisbury University, noted how important it is.

“We really want to put another banner up on the gym wall and it’s a lot of kids that I’m really close friends with,” he said. “They’re not playing baseball when they go to college, so this is their last hurrah, so why not go out with a bang.”

North Harford will either host Harford Tech in Friday’s region final or the Hawks will travel to North East.

Huskies beat Panthers

Patterson Mill (15-4) overcame a 5-2 deficit to beat visiting Perryville (8-6-1), 9-5, in an Class 1A East, Region I semifinal.

The Huskies will play at Colonel Richardson in Friday’s region final.

“We haven’t given up three runs in a game all year, we ended up giving up five in the second inning alone,” Huskies head coach Matt Roseland said.

The Panthers had five hits in the inning including a big RBI double by Dylan Nickle (2-4) and RBI single by Daniel Tserkis (2-4). The hits came with two outs, giving the Panthers an early 5-0 lead.

The Huskies, however, didn’t pack it in. They responded with nine unanswered runs over three straight innings.

Ethan Shertzer had an RBI groundout and Caleb Heymann scored on an error to start the comeback.

Trailing 5-2 in the third, Heymann’s RBI double scored Michael Segreti to make it 5-3.

In the six-run fourth, Segreti (3-4), Aiden Laurentius (2-4) and Heymann (2-3) all had RBI singles and Michael Hemelt (2-3), who led off the inning with a single, added a second single (two RBIs) with bases loaded and two outs to give the Huskies the 9-5 lead.

Evan Celuch made the start and lasted 1.1 innings. He gave up six hits, a walk and five earned runs. Celuch struck out two.

Christian Shertzer pitched 2.2 innings, striking out four, to earn the win. Laurentius also threw 2.2 innings, giving up a hit and three walks. He struck out one. Segreti pitched the final third of an inning for a save.

Mason Salisbury had three hits in four at-bats to lead Perryville.

Mustangs advance

C. Milton Wright (12-6) defeated host Dundalk, 10-0, in an Class 3A North, Region II semifinal.

Max Scurti threw a complete game shutout to lead the Mustangs. Scurti allowed just two hits over seven innings, striking out eight.

Lucas Frezza had a two-run home run in the sixth inning to highlight the win and CMW put up five runs in the seventh inning, using RBI singles by Ryan Niedzialkowski and Thomas Cannavale.

The Mustangs will play at Kenwood in Friday’s region final.

Aberdeen knocked out

Aberdeen (6-7) lost at Kenwood, 8-5, in an Class 3A North, Region II semifinal.

Will Hart threw first 1.1 innings with Brian Langbein coming on in relief for 4.2 innings. Langbein allowed two runs and he had six strikeouts.

The Eagles trailed 7-0 after three innings, but they scored four in the fifth to battle back. Sean Deaner had an RBI double, KJ Miller had an RBI single and Tylere Kenney added a two-run single.

Deaner added an RBI walk in the seventh and the Eagles left the bases loaded to end the game.

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