A strange thing happened to the Westminster High baseball team yesterday.
The Owls won the Carroll County baseball championship with an 8-4 victory over North Carroll but still walked off the field an unhappy team.
The scenario went like this:
Westminster pushed across four runs in the top of the 10th inning for the 8-4 win in the completion of a game that was suspended because of darkness after nine innings with the score tied at 4 last month.
That was all the Owls needed to bring the county title back to Westminster from South Carroll, which had won it three years in a row.
After securing the county championship in the suspended game, Westminster had a chance to clinch the Central Maryland Conference title outright with a win over North Carroll in a regulation game that was played five minutes after the suspended game at Westminster.
But the Owls (5-1 in the county, 8-4 in the CMC and 12-5 overall) had an obvious letdown after clinching the county championship and fell to the North Carroll, 5-4, in a tense duel.
The Owls now have to settle for a share of the CMC crown with a final mark of 8-4.
Westminster made two crucial errors, leading to three unearned runs, and Owls ace left-hander Chris Archambault had control problems all day.
Archambault hit four batters and walked six before departing in favor of Brian Dayton in the sixth inning.
The Panthers (4-2, 7-4 and 10-5) were more than willing to take the gifts from the Owls because they now can gain a share of the CMC title today with a victory over Thomas Johnson at TJ.
North Carroll and Thomas Johnson enter today's game with 7-4 records in the CMC, with the winner joining Westminster as co-champs.
"Let's keep the CMC title in Carroll County," said North Carroll coach Randy Clark yesterday, as he left Westminster.
Owls coaches Carl Rihard and Guy Stull weren't quite as upbeat, but both men acknowledged they would feel better today after the original disappointment had worn off.
"We allowed too many walks and didn't play baseball like we have in the past," said Rihard of the total of 10 walks his two pitchers gave up in the 5-4 loss.
North Carroll second baseman and leadoff hitter Geoff Little led the parade of walks and hit batsmen with three walks and being hit twice in five at-bats.
Clark said of his Panthers: "The kids showed a lot of determination in coming back from that loss in the suspended game. It's a shame we had to lose it. We had the guy picked off but didn't get him out."