With his team trailing by two runs in the seventh inning ZTC yesterday against Dulaney, Perry Hall senior Jeff Burrows felt it was as good a time as any to remind his teammates of their motto.
"Never say die," Burrows shouted, pacing behind the backstop. "It ain't over yet."
How right he was.
No. 4 Perry Hall responded by picking up the two runs it needed in the seventh inning and then added three in the top of the 10th inning to claim an 8-5 victory over the Lions in a Baltimore County Class 4A-3A game at Dulaney High.
"You have to play seven innings to beat us because we always find a way to win," said Burrows, whose sacrifice fly in the seventh pulled the Gators (14-1, 14-1) to within 5-4. "We just hang in there because we know we can do it."
The Gators' seventh-inning rally was capped when junior center fielder Mandel Marsh scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5-5 and send it into extra innings.
Dulaney (11-5, 11-5) had its chances to put the game away in its half of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings but twice left runners stranded at third and saw a runner called out at the plate on a single to right field by junior Brian Makowske.
Hits seemed hard to come by for the Gators in the first nine innings with senior right-hander Jeff Berman on the mound for the Lions.
However, Berman, who struck out 11, was ejected in the ninth inning when the umpire learned that he had exceeded the MPSSAA's limit of 14 innings in a seven-day period. Berman had pitched seven innings in Dulaney's 2-1 win over Lansdowne on Saturday and was eligible to pitch only seven innings.
Junior Steve Wieczynski took over for Berman in the top of the 10th and was immediately put on the defensive. Danny Wheeler led off the inning with a single and was brought home two pitches later when sophomore Chris Ude doubled down the line in left field.
The Gators got two insurance runs on a suicide squeeze and a single to left by Marsh.
"I know one thing. My guys are going to use all their outs," said Perry Hall coach Larry Butts, whose team rallied from a two-run deficit in the seventh and defeated the Lions, 8-7, in their first meeting.
"Perry Hall is always tough," said Dulaney assistant coach John Elseroad, filling in for head coach Ron Audlin, who was attending his son's college graduation. "They come back and that's what makes them a good team."