The Bel Air Bobcats baseball team used strong pitching and timely hitting Tuesday to win the Class 3A North Region II title.
Pitchers Jack Snyder and Aiden Hankins limited visiting C. Milton Wright to one run on six hits in a 4-1 Bobcats win.
The win puts Bel Air into a Friday state quarterfinal against an opponent to be determined.
“I felt good, big game and I had to perform for my teammates to get a regional championship,” Snyder said.
The senior scattered five hits, walked two and yielded the lone CMW run, while striking out five over four innings.
The Mustangs opened the scoring against Snyder with a run in the second inning. Carl Goscinski hit a leadoff single and Tommy Cannavale (3-for-3) doubled him to third. Goscinski scored on a wild pitch. The Mustangs had an opportunity for more, but Cannavale was thrown out at the plate on a double steal attempt. Jon Klein grounded out sharply to first and Snyder struck out Ryan Kaye to end the inning.
The Bobcats scored in the bottom the second inning. Cole Saxon drew a bases-loaded walk to score Garrett Daugherty with the tying run. Like CMW, Bel Air had a chance for more, but Kevin Winn was tagged out at the plate trying to score on a passed ball. Mason Ripple popped out to first and Lucas Frezza struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Bel Air, though, was right back at it in the third inning. Snyder bounced a single back up the middle, driving in Dyllon Barrett and Collin Palmieri with two big runs.
“The pitcher kind of fell behind in the count and I knew the fastball was coming, so I just had to deliver,” Snyder said.
Snyder then pitched his fourth and final inning, keeping the Mustangs down, 3-1.
Hankins came on in relief and was sharp over the final three innings. Hankins allowed just one hit and two walks, while striking out six.
Hankins was also part of the Bobcats’ biggest defensive play of the game. It came in the sixth after Goscinski walked and Cannavale singled. Hankins struck out Klein and Max Scurti grounded hard back to Hankins. Hankins fired to shortstop Barrett covering second, who relayed the ball to first for an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.
Bel Air added its fourth run in the bottom of the sixth. Hankins hit a leadoff single and Daugherty came on as the courtesy runner. Daugherty stole second, moved to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a wild pitch.
Hankins went back to the mound for the seventh and struck out the side.
“It means everything, especially when you can go back-to-back years and we have a great group of guys,” Hankins said of winning a region title. “I really love it and I’m excited for where we can get to. I think we can go as far as the state championship and win it all.”
“Our guys fought and fought and fought, but we just couldn’t get it to break through,” Mustangs coach Mike Amaral said. “That’s baseball. It was great game.”