Old Mill's very young baseball team may have lost Friday's Class 4A Region IV semifinal to Arundel on Tuesday.
"We were devastated Tuesday. No one had ever beaten us like that before," said veteran Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery, looking back to Tuesday's 20-5 embarrassment at Severna Park in the final regular-season game.
"We had started playing well and ran into a buzz saw at Severna Park. And when a young team like we have has a game like that, it's tough to recover.
"We talked about it all week and how we needed to come back against Arundel, but it just didn't happen."
The Wildcats (16-5) eliminated the Patriots, 5-2, at Old Mill, ending an up-and-down season.
Old Mill (13-7), a club with only two seniors and 20 underclassmen, went into Severna Park with a chance to gain top seed in the 4A Region IV playoffs but left shellshocked.
It seemed to carry over Friday as Arundel scored all five of its runs in the first two innings and held on for the win behind sophomore Brandon Agamennone (5-2).
Losing pitcher Lee Haney gave up a pair of two-run hits to the Wildcats' Brian Nehman and Chris Durocher in a decisive four-run second inning.
Haney, a junior left-hander, did not give up a hit the rest of the way, finishing with a five-hitter, five strikeouts and two walks.
"Lee pitched very well after that second inning and is one of the main reasons we should do well in the future," said Montgomery.
Montgomery expects this team -- "the youngest club we've ever had" -- to be tough in 1993 with only catcher Mike Mahoney and outfielder Mark Bailey graduating.
Among the 20 returnees (a couple of underclassmen from the jayvee were moved up for the playoffs) is a promising pitching staff.
There's Haney and fellow junior Jeff Robinson, and sophomores Jeff Haynie and Ken Pumphrey. Haynie and Pumphrey were two of six 10th-graders on this year's team.
"Pumphrey is 6-foot-4 and the hardest thrower on our ballclub," said Montgomery. "He gets up to about 83 to 84 mph on the radar gun, which is not too bad for a sophomore."
Montgomery wasn't making excuses for his team and is aware that Arundel also has a young squad with 14 underclassmen, including Agamennone who went the distance on a seven-hitter, with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Those who saw the game might have seen a preview of next year's Region IV final with Agamennone and Haney matched again, though Montgomery is hoping for a different outcome.
"This team has got a lot of potential," said Montgomery. "I would have been satisfied to go .500, but they really improved. We've got a lot to look forward to."