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Glenelg Country baseball stays undefeated with 8-4 win over Mt. Carmel

Glenelg Country senior Tyler Russo swung at a pitch off the plate that would’ve been ball four the first time he came to bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning. A run scored anyway as he yanked an outside fastball to first base but the experienced Towson commit knew better than to press at the plate, especially considering the Mt. Carmel pitcher walked the previous two batters.

So when Russo came up in the same spot with the bases loaded in a 4-4 game in the bottom of the sixth inning on Thursday, he told himself he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

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“I’ve always been anxious when I bat when there’s a slow pitcher,” he said. “I look for inside pitches but in that last at-bat I knew I needed to make an adjustment and drive it up the middle.”

Russo did just that, hitting a sharp groundball past the diving second baseman to score two go-ahead runs in the Dragons’ eventual 8-4 victory that kept their perfect record in tact.

Russo, who is known more for his powerful left arm than his bat, led the way by going 1-for-3 with three RBIs, a run and an intentional walk, while leadoff batter Kevin Gamble (double) and left fielder Jake Schiller also had hits to help Glenelg Country improve to 6-0 in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference play and 7-0 overall.

Overall, however, it was a lackluster performance by both teams. Mt. Carmel (3-3, 5-4) stranded at least one runner in every inning, 12 overall and seven in scoring position, and while its three pitchers allowed just three hits on the day, they combined to walk 13 batters, including three with the bases loaded.

“It was a piece together game on the mound today since it’s our fourth game this week but the stat that really stuck out to me was leaving seven in scoring position,” Cougars coach Mike Naunton. “I think if we come up with a clutch hit that could’ve changed the momentum of the game a little bit.”

The Dragons weren’t much better, walking 11 batters and stranding 10, but coach Chris Garber credited his team for coming through despite “coming out flat.”

“We weren’t really able to break open a big inning and we even had our No. 3 and 4 hitters up at times,” he said. “... We need to take advantage of those opportunities and that’s what I told the guys.”

After Mt. Carmel strung together three hits in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, Glenelg Country answered with three runs in the second thanks to five straight walks to start the frame and an RBI from Cole Sterry. Russo’s first RBI in the fourth added another run and extended the advantage to 4-2, but the Cougars kept the score close by scoring one run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to knot the game at four.

That’s when three more batters reached on base on balls and Russo put his team in front for good. Marcus Arterburn earned the win and didn’t allow any runs over the last two innings, while Marcus Khademi gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits and walked eight while striking out two. Sterry, Dyllon Ravenell, Arterburn, Kyle Arnold and Schiller also had RBIs for the Dragons.

“Tyler’s in the three-hole for a reason because we want him to come up with the big blow,” Garber said. “He had a big home run to help himself on Tuesday against Gerstell and he’s starting to heat up.”

As reliable as Russo is at the plate, he’s nearly untouchable on the mound. He has a perfect 4-0 record and has struck out 51 batters, walked four and allowed just two earned runs in 25 innings — good for a 0.56 ERA.

“That’s a pretty dominant season so far,” Garber said. “We trust him a lot and he’s been throwing great.”

Garber admits that the target on their back gets bigger every day their undefeated season stays alive. He says the goal is to remain the hunters and not the hunted regardless of what records may indicate.

“We’re obviously not going to sneak up on anyone anymore. They see the standings, so teams will be shooting for us. We get that,” Garber said. “We still want to go out there and do what we need to do. We need to not worry about what anyone else is doing and stick to our game plan. If we do that we’re going to be in most ball games and be in a position to win in the end when we need to.”

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Glenelg Country (6-0 MIAA B, 7-0 overall) — 8, Mt. Carmel (3-3, 5-4) — 4

............. 123 456 7 R-H-E

MC ..... 100 111 0 4-5-0

GCS ... 030 104 x 8-3-2

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