The memory of a disappointing end to the 2015 season is still fresh for Howard senior Casey Crawford. After starting the year 15-4, the Lions' season ended with back-to-back back losses that took them out of the running for the county championship, then eliminated them from the playoffs.
But with Wednesday's 11-1 win over defending county champion Mt. Hebron, the Lions are well on their way to turning the page.
"We're just trying to improve," said Crawford, who earned the win, singled and drove in a run. "We knew (Mt. Hebron) was going to be a duel ... we just needed to hit the ball and play good defense."
Crawford held the Vikings to only one unearned run on two hits through five innings.
"Getting ahead (in the count) was key. I've got a good defense behind me so I was just pitching strikes," Crawford said.
The Lions took advantage of Mt. Hebron's defensive struggles in the fourth, when they batted around and scored six runs on two errors and base hits by Ryan Vale, Jayden Cowan, Cameron Robinson and Reid Walsh.
In the game the Vikings committed four errors, and allowed seven walks, two hit batters, and 10 hits, including doubles by Cowan and lead-off hitter KJ Murray.
"I think we've got as strong of a lineup as there is in the county, 1-9," Howard coach Nick Hoffner said. "Today was a good day for us. Everybody knew this was a big game."
Both teams were 2-0 in conference play coming into the game.
Around the League
Atholton 5, Hammond 0
Raiders senior ace Blake James pitched six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts to lead his team to a shut out victory. Justin Reese took over in the seventh to pitch a scoreless frame with two punchouts.
Brian Cook and Zach Snow each hit a two-run single, while Connor McManust had three hits including a pair of doubles for the Raiders.
Centennial 4, Marriotts Ridge 1
Eagles ace lefty Connor Atkins prevailed over the Mustangs with a complete game effort, while Joey Sopchick hit the go-ahead double in the sixth.
Glenelg 20, Wilde Lake 2
Sean Kinloch earned the victory for the Gladiators, while Hank Koele led the offense with a 3-for-3, 2-double, 5-RBI performance at the plate.
Long Reach 12, Oakland Mills 9
Long Reach's Josh Kulina and Oakland Mills' Chris Clyde (3 RBIs) collected four hits each in an offensive bonanza which saw the Lightning and Scorpions combine for 25 hits and nine errors. Sam Lobdell drove in three runs for Long Reach to lead the way.
River Hill 6, Reservoir 3
The Hawks scored three runs in the top of the seventh on the way to victory at Reservoir. Kieran Garner went the distance on the mound, striking out seven, while River Hill second baseman Danny Selby drove in two runs on two hits to lead the offense.
Boy's Latin 5, Glenelg Country 4
St. John's Catholic 7, Chapelgate 2
Tuesday, April 5 score
Hammond 3, Oakland Mills 0
Friday, April 8 schedule
Centennial at Glenelg
Hammond at Long Reach
Howard at Marriotts Ridge
Oakland Mills at River Hill
Reservoir at Mt. Hebron
Wilde Lake at Atholton
Gerstell at Chapelgate
Saturday, April 9 schedule
McDonogh at Glenelg Country (Noon)
League standings (as of April 7)
Marriotts Ridge, 2-1
Mt. Hebron, 2-1
River Hill, 2-1
Howard County Times: Top stories
Long Reach, 1-2
Wilde Lake, 0-3
Oakland Mills, 0-4
Glenelg Country, 2-3 (MIAA B)
Chapelgate, 2-1 (MIAA C)