Patriots hold on against Eagles, 5-2 Patapsco's 5-0 lead threatened in 7th


Patapsco coach Dave Ingle isn't used to winning baseball games the way his team did yesterday at Owings Mills.

"Usually we're behind and in the third or fourth inning we wake up and start hitting," said Ingle. "Today was a little new."

The Patriots had a 5-0 lead with two outs in the last inning before holding on and defeating the Eagles, 5-2, in a Baltimore County Class 2A-1A matchup.

"One of my sayings this year is 'Never say die' because we have the capability of coming back with our bats," said Owings Mills coach Randy Pentz, who has turned his team around after finishing 1-15 last season. "My guys aren't going to quit."

The Patriots (7-1, 7-1) got on the scoreboard in the second inning when senior first baseman Wayne Wright hit a two-run homer into an auxiliary lacrosse field in deep left-center. Wright's home run -- his first of the season -- brought home junior center fielder Eric Shinsky, who had singled and stole second.

Patapsco, which had defeated the Eagles, 6-1, early in the season, added two more runs with two outs in the top of the third when senior Chris Mirabile doubled home Mike Scruggs and catcher Darrell Esteppe to make it 4-0.

Owings Mills (8-3, 8-3) threatened in its half of the third to convince Ingle into pulling starting pitcher Kevin Lipka. Ingle inserted Mirabile with one out and the bases loaded and the move paid off. His No. 1 starter forced sophomore David Mise into hitting an infield pop-up, which the Patriots turned into a double-play when the runner on third headed for home.

Patapsco appeared on its way to recording a shutout when Mirabile struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh. However, the Eagles weren't finished.

Consecutive base hits by Randy Shernan, Scott Katzen and Clint Helphenstine resulted in the first run and a throwing error on a routine grounder to third made it 5-2 with the tying run at the plate. Paul Sapperstein loaded the bases when he got on on a fielding error by Scott Palmarino but was eventually left stranded when Mirabile struck out Pat Eagan to end the rally and register the save.

"Their balls seemed like they had eyes in the last inning, but Owings Mills is a good team and they wouldn't be 8-2 if they weren't," said Ingle. "We've got a lot of kids swinging the bats real well, even down to our No. 8 and No. 9 hitters. The bottom of our order is starting to produce and we're getting the guys hitting with people on base.

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