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Thomas Johnson tops Lansdowne, 4-1


FREDERICK -- The Lansdowne Vikings waited six innings yesterday for some relief from Thomas Johnson's stingy pitching. But once Patriots coach Jim Foit gave it to them, he took it right back.

Foit pulled starter Mike Anders for Aaron Wheat to start the seventh inning, but Wheat threw six consecutive balls, so Foit put the right-hander back in.

Anders, who had given up one run on six hits in his first stint, then retired the side in order to gain the win and the save in his team's 4-1 victory in the Class 3A state championship game at McCurdy Field.

"I wanted to finish what I started," said Anders, who struck out four in all, including the final two batters. "I didn't have my usual control for most of the game. When I came back, though, I felt pretty strong."

Meanwhile, Lansdowne starter Josh Benson was erratic, giving up five walks and two earned runs in four innings.

"He just didn't have it today," said Lansdowne coach Ron Bareford, whose team was making its first appearance in the state tournament and finished the season 17-5. "He said he felt like jelly. It was just one of those days."

After retiring the side in the first inning on just four pitches, Benson needed 30 to do the job in the second. He began the inning by issuing consecutive walks to Mike Leatherman, Wheat and Jessie Williams. Then, after getting Kevin Breckenridge to pop to short, he walked Tom Brothers to force in a run, giving the Patriots a 1-0 lead.

"I told them that this guy was all over the plate, so they just had to wait," said Foit, whose team finished 16-6 and ended the season by winning 11 of 12. "It was just a matter of time until he had to come in with a fat one."

That's what happened in the fourth inning. After Benson fell behind No. 8 hitter Tom Brothers, the left fielder hit one over the left-field fence for his first home run of the season.

An inning later, the Patriots' Ronnie Shankle hit one to almost the same spot off Randy Musgrove, who had come on in relief, to make it 4-0.

The Vikings' biggest threat came in the fifth inning. After pinch hitter Brian Brewer reached on an error by third baseman Jessie Williams, Adam Keim singled and Musgrove drew a walk to load the bases with one out.

Brian Sullivan then hit a long sacrifice fly to center, scoring Brewer to make it 4-1. But that was the only run Lansdowne would score, as Rob Parsons grounded to short to end the threat.

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