Calvert Hall gets to play McDonogh one more time because of the games the Cardinals played on the base paths.
And the one Brian Matz threw.
The Cardinals used a bit of trickery to steal home twice, and pitcher Brian Matz threw a two-hitter as the No. 2 Cardinals defeated No. 4 McDonogh, 3-1, in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championship series yesterday at Memorial Stadium.
The Calvert Hall victory forces a showdown for the conference title on Monday at 3:45 p.m. at a site to be announced. Calvert Hall needed to win twice because defending champion McDonogh was the top seed. The Eagles could have taken the title with a win yesterday.
Calvert Hall came up with the victory in a duel between two of the area's best pitchers, Matz (7-0) and Kenny Cloude (7-3). The McDonogh right-hander never had lost to Calvert Hall (20-4); in fact, he beat the Cardinals in last year's title game.
"To beat McDonogh with Cloude on the mound is [great]," said Matz. "We haven't done that yet in two years. It's really a boost for us."
Cloude allowed only five hits yesterday and struck out five, but the Calvert Hall base-running did him and McDonogh (15-4) in.
McDonogh took a 1-0 lead when Cloude scored on a second-inning throwing error. Calvert Hall rallied in the top of the fourth when Tim Pilarski doubled and Jason Dean walked with one out.
With Liam Healy up, Pilarski stole third. Moments later, Dean stole second. Healy then walked to load the bases, and Adam Roberts brought in Pilarski with a sacrifice fly. Dean moved to third on the play.
Then, with Kevin Brooks up, Healy got trapped off first base. Cloude spun and ran at him, but Dean raced home before Healy was tagged for the third out and the Eagles led, 2-1.
Matz scored the Cardinals' final run in the sixth. He doubled with one out and moved to third when Pilarski reached on a bunt single.
Dean then came up. Calvert Hall coach Joe Binder called for a suicide squeeze, but Matz broke for home and scored when Cloude threw to first.
"When someone scores a run like that, it takes a little bit out of you," said McDonogh coach Al Poklemba.
"They played a little bit of funky baseball. That's the way [we] usually play."
Binder agreed that the two steals sparked his team.
"It was a [lift], especially against Kenny," said Binder. "When we know we have Brian on the mound who throws as well as Brian throws, you don't need that much."
And Matz did not give up that much. He struck out eight and allowed only five balls out of the infield -- two in the last inning.
Matz grew stronger as the game progressed. He stuck mostly with his fastball, but mixed in a big curveball and changeup to keep the Eagles off-balance.
McDonogh put Matz in serious trouble only once. The left-hander retired 18 of the final 20 he faced.
"I felt it toward the end," said Matz, who threw 65 pitches in a relief effort on Monday. "Sometimes pitchers feel it. I felt they weren't going to hit the ball."
Calvert Hall occasionally struggled at bat, as the Cardinals hit only eight balls out of the infield. Instead, they manufactured their runs.