Rey, Northeast drop in to their second straight state title, 7-6 @


FREDERICK -- Scott Rey's bases-loaded bloop single to short right field in the bottom of the seventh lifted Northeast to its second straight state Class 2A baseball title, 7-6, over Walkersville yesterday at McCurdy Field.

"I told the guys in the dugout that I was just going to get my bat on the ball," said Rey, a senior first baseman who went 1-for-2, with two sacrifice bunts. "I felt the jitters, but they left as soon as I stepped up to the plate."

The Eagles (18-5) won their 10th consecutive game and became the third straight 2A school to claim back-to-back titles. Cecil County's North East, and Allegany were back-to-back winners the four previous years.

"We worked really hard to get here this year," said Harry Lentz, completing his 25th season as Northeast coach. His Eagles went a state-record 24-0 last year. "There were no easy games for us like last year, but we had players like Scott step up and take up some slack."

Rey delivered the ending, but catcher Rich Spiegel (2-for-3, 3 RBI) had kept Northeast close. Spiegel hit his sixth and seventh home runs of the season and tied the state record for career RBI with 81.

He gave the Eagles a 2-0, first-inning lead with his first home run -- a two-run shot over the left-field fence. In the fifth, Spiegel went to a full count before hitting a 330-foot, bases-empty shot high over left fielder Tim Peterson to give the Eagles a 5-3 cushion.

"Those were good breaks for us," said Spiegel, who had 38 RBI this year. "The first was on a fastball on the inside part of the plate, and the second was on a hanging curve."

Spiegel, the No. 3 batter in the Eagles lineup, has benefited from No. 2 batter Joe Hoyer. A senior, Hoyer walked twice and scored twice against Walkersville pitcher Chris Palmer (5-1) to increase his state records for single-season walks to 25, and for career walks to 58.

Walkersville (20-4) tied the game at 2 in the second inning, when Kurt Cunningham sliced an RBI triple and scored on Dana Shrodel's sacrifice fly.

Northeast went ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the inning when Derek Dolch doubled, took third on Rey's sacrifice bunt, and scored on junior Wayne Hudson's single. The Eagles led, 4-2, after K.C. Murphy got his 24th RBI of the season on a third-inning single.

In the fourth, Walkersville's Shane Edwards singled, took second on a walk to Shawn DeWees, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a ground out to make it 4-3.

Chad O'Brien's sixth-inning, bases-loaded single gave the Eagles their biggest lead, 6-3, but the Lions rallied to tie the game with a three-run seventh.

It was 6-4 after a walk, a wild pitch and third baseman O'Brien's throwing error of a grounder by Rob Newbury. Hudson (six strikeouts, nine walks) then hit DeWees with a pitch and Palmer singled in his 31st RBI.

Hudson (130 pitches) was relieved by Chris Kelly after Palmer's hit -- the Lions' third. And after Peterson's sacrifice fly scored DeWees to tie the game, Kelly walked a batter but struck out the next one for the last out.

That set the stage for Rey in the bottom of the seventh.

"We knew this would be a lot tougher game than last year's," said Hoyer. "But Coach had a great scouting report on these guys. This is just a great way to go out."

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