Southern of Baltimore was happy to be making a second straight appearance in the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference championship series after losing last year on a controversial call in the decisive third game.
But while that bad memory has MSA B baseball
subsided, another one continued yesterday in the form of Patterson. After rallying from a five-run deficit to tie, the No. 15 Bulldogs fell to No. 2 Patterson, 12-8, in the series opener at Towson State.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series moves to Patterson for a 3:45 p.m. game Tuesday. If necessary, Game 3 will be Wednesday at Swann Park.
All three of Southern's defeats this season have been to %J Patterson (19-1). The Clippers won the two regular-season meetings, 2-1 and 9-0.
For the first 4 1/2 innings yesterday, it looked like another rout was unfolding. Patterson built an 8-3 lead after putting three runs across in the top half of the fifth. But the Bulldogs (15-3) answered with five runs in the bottom half of the inning to tie it at 8.
Then, with a man on first for the Clippers in the sixth, designated hitter Garry Burrows sent a 2-2 fastball from James Benton almost 345 feet over the right-center field fence to give Patterson a 10-8 lead.
"We have won 15 out of 18 games this season and have come back from big deficits," said Southern coach Bill Parker. "These kids got alot of spirit. If we keep a couple of balls in the park, like the one Burrows hit, we could have kept it close. Maybe we could get one in the end."
Burrows' heroics weren't a surprise. Burrows, also Patterson's pitching ace, was the winning pitcher in the two regular-season victories and is the scheduled starter Tuesday.
"I was a little excited after striking out the first time," said Burrows, a senior. "When he threw it, I wasn't thinking home run. I just wanted to get a good swing."
Brian Pisani was on the mound for all of Southern's runs, but the senior southpaw hung tough under a humid sun, going the distance and striking out nine for the victory.
Roger Main gave Pisani a four-run cushion in the seventh with a double that scored Ronny Green and John Sauer. Main, a senior thirdbaseman, and Green, a junior catcher, led a 14-hit Patterson attack with three hits each.
Senior shortstop Danny Fyffe, who went 4-for-4 for Southern, singled in the fifth to help set the table for the five-run comeback. With the bases loaded, a Pisani pitch got by Green, allowing Chris Broseker to score. On the next pitch, Jerry Gastiger hit a grounder, but first baseman Charles Farley couldn't dig out the throw and two runs scored. Jimmy Loetz tripled to right-center, then scored on a single by Robert Vaughters, tying the score.
"It was certainly exciting," said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn. "Southern is a real good team and we're the only team to beat them this season. People seem to forget that they are a 15-3 team and haven't gotten there because they can't play a little bit too."