Glenelg's Sean Lookingbill didn't have his good stuff for the first time this season.
But the sophomore left-hander still pitched top-seeded Glenelg to a Class 2A, Region I semifinal victory yesterday, throwing a two-hit, 7-0 shutout at visiting North Carroll.
Glenelg will play host to Walkersville, a 12-3 winner over Southern (Garrett), at 1 p.m. today for the championship.
Glenelg (14-4), batting .337 as a team, continued its hot hitting. The Gladiators chased North Carroll's starting pitcher, senior right-hander Kevin Dull, after two-thirds of an inning.
Dull gave up six line-drive hits and four runs before sophomore left-hander Mike Huller relieved him.
"Kevin has been struggling the last couple of weeks, but he's our No. 1 pitcher and I had to go with my senior," North Carroll coach Randy Clark said.
Clark should have known the Panthers were in for a tough day. The team bus got lost and North Carroll showed up at Glenelg 15 minutes before game time.
The Gladiators got 12 hits, and eight of the nine Glenelg starters had at least one hit. Glenelg has 51 runs in its past four games.
Lookingbill (5-1) hardly resembled the overpowering pitcher that had struck out 60 batters in 35 innings.
"I didn't have a good day," he said. "I didn't have my good fastball and my curve was either high or in the dirt. I probably didn't get enough practice time this week, although I threw 30 pitches on Wednesday."
But Lookingbill had a no-hitter for 5 2/3 innings until Steve Hanson blooped an opposite-field single.
"Sean had poise and pitched with his head today," Glenelg coach Terry Coleman said.
North Carroll (11-7) had eight base runners and stranded seven of them. One was thrown out trying to steal. Three times the Panthers got their leadoff hitter on base. The Panthers were retired 1-2-3 only in the third inning.
Lookingbill walked three, three Panthers reached on errors and two on hits. He struck out five, a season low.
"It helped that we scored a lot of runs early, and I just had to concentrate on throwing strikes," said Lookingbill, who brought an 0.79 ERA into the game.
Glenelg's offense put North Carroll in a deep hole in the first inning.
Leadoff batter Matt Morraye singled. Jamie Brinker bunted him to second base. Brian Boteler hit a ground-rule double to center. Mike Goldberg singled Boteler home with Glenelg's second run.