Dom Novak's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth yesterday broke a 4-4 tie and gave Thomas Johnson a 7-4 win over visiting North Carroll and a share of the Central Maryland Conference baseball title.
The game was suspended last Wednesday due to heavy thunderstorms and resumed yesterday with North Carroll having a 3-2 lead in the middle of the second. Both teams entered the game with 7-4 conference records and Westminster already enjoying a piece of the crown at 8-4.
Novak's homer, a towering shot in left-center, came off North Carroll starter Mike Huller with two outs in the inning.
It was just about the only bad pitch Huller threw yesterday to that point. Thomas Johnson (12-6) tied the score at 3 in the third with an infield single and then a bloop double behind first.
After North Carroll (11-6) took a 4-3 lead on a run-scoring single up the middle by Don Hudgins in the fifth, the Patriots got an unearned run in the bottom of the inning.
With one out, North Carroll shortstop Eric Wright made a solid play getting to a Roger Printz grounder up the middle, but his hurried throw went wide and enabled Printz to take second. One out later, Kevin Brandenberger hit a high pop between short and center to score Printz.
"It was just one of those days," said North Carroll coach Randy Clark.
"We were playing for a share of the conference title and also could have been home on Friday in the regionals with a win so it meant a lot to us. We gave it our best shot and stayed close with a pretty good ball club. We just have to regroup for Friday."
Patriots ace Mike Anders got the win in relief of starter Jason Brennan. Anders entered the game in the fourth and allowed just one run on three hits.
Huller was equally as impressive until he got the pitch a little up in the strike zone to Novak.
A tapper down third by Joy Hammond kept the inning alive.
"Mike really pitched well today," Clark said.
"They didn't really hit him hard at all up to that point [Novak's homer].
"The kids have played very well up to this point. They've played as a team and as a coach you just want to get the most potential out of them as possible and we've got a lot out of these kids."
Thomas Johnson opened the scoring with two in the bottom of the first last Wednesday. An infield error and a hit batsman put runners on first and second with one out.
The Patriots went with a hit-and-run play and Brandenberger poked a single by short to score Printz.
Brandon Lawson followed with a sacrifice fly to score Fontaine Weedon.
The Panthers took the 3-2 lead in the top of the second with a Geoff Little double that cleared the bases.