The last time Aberdeen was in the baseball state semifinals, Cal Ripken, Jr. was leading the Eagles to school's first and only state championship nearly 40 years ago.
The Eagles (16-7) are two wins away from that elusive second title after beating visiting Lansdowne, 11-4, Friday to win the Class 3A North Region championship. The game was played at Ripken Baseball's Yankee Stadium.
Patterson Mill, meanwhile, was winning the 1A North crown as well, beating visiting McDonough, 4-1. Fallston, however, wasn't so fortunate in the 2A East final. The Cougars were beaten by visiting Queen Anne's, 7-4.
"I think we start off a little tense, a little tight, you know, all hyped up for the game," Aberdeen head coach Tim Lindecamp said. "I didn't do anything, those guys did it. The big thing was Dylan Mariano. He started the game, he's a relief pitcher. He came out and pitched strong against Bo Manor and other teams and he's why were here."
Dylan Mariano pitched four innings, allowing five hits and walk. Andrew Brndjar pitched the final three innings.
Aberdeen fell behind 3-0 early as CJ Monroe drove in all three runs for the Vikings with a first inning, two-run, inside-the-park home run and a third inning RBI single.
The Eagles, shut out for two innings by Vikings hurler Steve Yarbor, broke loose in the third. A leadoff walk to Christian Melendez, led to a four-run Aberdeen rally. David Fulp doubled in the first run, while Andrew Brndjar (single) and Anthony Cuellar also had RBIs. The go-ahead run scored on an error.
Aberdeen added four more in the fourth and a leadoff walk to Melendez, again aided the rally. Brndjar (2-3) and Sam Smith had RBI singles and Cuellar (2-4) added a two-RBI double.
Lansdowne added a run in the fifth. Cam McCarthy tripled and scored on Luke Tucker's groundout.
Aberdeen closed out the win with two more in the fifth and one in the sixth. Jacob Murdock doubled in one in the fifth and Brandon Gurosko drove in one on a groundout. Zach Thomas singled in the run in the sixth.
"First of all, we're not done yet, we're on a roll," Sam Smith said. "It's been something like 38 years and I believe we won a state championship that year, too, so we're not done yet and I would like nothing more than to watch these boys win a state championship as I leave." Smith, just a junior and brother Jack, a freshman, will be relocating to Oklahoma in July.
"It means a lot to me, I mean I get to keep playing with these guys, because I know I'm not going to see a lot of them again," Brndjar said. "This is amazing, I didn't ask for this."
Aberdeen will battle Huntingtown on Tuesday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans. Game time is either 4 or 7 p.m.
Koehn leads Huskies
Austin Koehn tossed a complete game two-hitter to propel Patterson Mill (20-3) back into the state semis. Koehn walked one, struck out six and allowed an unearned run.
The Huskies scored twice in the second inning. Jacob Michael walked after a lengthy at-bat which started with him going down, 0-2. Nick Cress then hit a triple to the right-center field gap to score Michael. With one out, Steve Spencer grounded out to shortstop to score Cress.
The Huskies carried the 2-0 lead into the fifth, where Spencer worked a leadoff walk. Todd Campo, a pinch runner, moved to second on a passed ball. Jace Valle-Shaw delivered a one-out, RBI single up the middle to push the Huskies ahead, 3-0.
McDonough scored its lone run in the top of sixth. Damien Price got hit by a Koehn pitch to lead off the inning and Trevor Drummal reached on an error to move Price to third. Price then scored on an Peyton Myers sacrifice fly.
The Huskies also scored their final run in the sixth. Max Elliot singled and advanced to second on a wild pickoff throw. Michael then hit an RBI single to score Elliott.
"In a game where hits were scarce, ours were timely to score key runs. Only four hits on the day and three were for RBIs," Huskies head coach Matt Roseland said. "Austin pitched an outstanding game in a big moment. 85 pitches through seven innings and he was efficient and competitive throughout. Our guys were relentless and fought every at bat against a top arm in the state. Couldn't be prouder of the accomplishments these guys have put together. Today we are one step closer to our goal, we are excited to get back to work on Monday."
McDonough pitcher David Larson took the loss in a solid effort. He allowed four hits and three walks, while striking out 12. Of the four runs allowed, two were earned.
The Huskies will meet Pikesville on Tuesday at McCurdy Field in Frederick. Game time is 4 or 7 p.m.
Cougars fall short
In Fallston's loss the Cougars found themselves in a 3-0 hole before they ever came to bat.
Noah Hagenston had a big day offensively for Fallston. Hagenston singled in the Cougars first run in the third and then homered in the seventh with the Cougars down to their final out.
Sean Harris added an RBI single in the third as well and the Cougars had another run score in the sixth.