Top-ranked Arundel (13-1) closed in on one of the four baseball playoff berths in Class 4A, Region IV with a 4-2 victory at North County (9-6) yesterday.
It was the fourth straight win for the Wildcats, ranked 16th nationally, after suffering their lone loss on April 27 by 6-5 to Old Mill. Arundel leads Chesapeake (11-2) in Region IV and has four games remaining.
"I would say we have to win one more game to clinch a berth, but we're shooting for the top berth and home-field advantage. We've made it awful hard for anyone to catch us," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter, who got another superb pitching effort from junior right-hander Brandon Agamennone.
Agamennone (5-0), who got his first save with three innings in relief Monday in an 11-6 win over Southern-AA, gave up singles to the first two hitters he faced, John Bermudez and Mike Wooden. Bermudez stole second after his single, stopped at third on Wooden's liner to center and came home on Bob Christopher's fly to deep left.
"Aggie was a little high in the first inning, then settled down and got in a groove," said Walter.
Christopher was the first of 15 Knights set down in succession by Agamennone before Scott Lam reached on an error leading off the bottom of the fifth.
The Wildcats took the lead with three runs in the second off losing pitcher Joe York. J. P. Noon hit his second homer of the season, and the Wildcats later got an RBI single from Agamennone and an RBI double from Jeff Hedrick (3-for-4).
After Lam broke the string of outs in the bottom of the fifth, he was forced at second on a grounder by Bermudez and Wooden reached on an error. That set the stage for Agamennone's biggest strikeout of the game.
Christopher, who had homered in the Knights' earlier 7-1 loss at Arundel, represented the winning run at home plate. After spinning in two curveballs to go 0-2, Agamennone came in with a fastball to strike out the left-handed hitter.
Dave Brown singled to right to score Bermudez to make it 3-2, but Agamennone, who finished with a three-hitter, five strikeouts and no walks, got Justin Rice to strike out and end the threat.