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Armiger's 'zone' week lifts Lakers Hot bat propels Boys' Latin to title


A week of torrid hitting by Jon Armiger helped end a decade of frustration for the Boys' Latin baseball team.

The senior catcher's exploits last week in one victory over Friends and two against Lutheran included 8-for-12 hitting (a .666 average), 12 RBI, three home runs, two doubles and seven runs scored.

"I'm still pretty high and I don't know when I'll come down," said Armiger, whose efforts Thursday helped Boys' Latin (12-3) to a 2-0 Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference championship series sweep of Lutheran and the Lakers' first MSA title in 10 years.

The hitting spree is something Armiger, 17, might have dreamed about since he first grabbed a bat in the Overlea-Fullerton recreation league in 1983 -- the same year the Lakers won their last crown, in the C Conference.

"Over the last week, what he's done -- it was just incredible," said Lakers coach Jack Blinke, who was an assistant in 1983. "I hadn't seen that done by anyone in a long while, and I don't know when I'll see it again."

Armiger's performances haven't gone unnoticed. He has been scouted by the Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, and Cleveland Indians, and Coppin State has offered him a full scholarship.

Armiger, who finished with a .666 average and 28 RBI, had a regular-season on-base percentage of .823, and never had struck out entering the Lakers' semifinal double-elimination victory over Friends.

He promptly struck out in his first three at-bats against the Quakers and "was getting pretty disgusted," said Armiger. "My dad [John] told me to step up closer to the plate."

Armiger would get a final chance in the bottom of the sixth. On a 2-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded and his team trailing, 10-8, Armiger hit a grand slam over the fence "and the crowd went nuts."

"That one was a rocket," said Blinke.

"After that," said Armiger, whose batting average had dipped to its lowest of the season at .594, "I was in a zone.

"I felt like every hit was going to be a line drive. Once I get that feeling, I know I'm going to do pretty good."

Armiger went 7-for-8 (an .875 average) in the best-of-three series against Lutheran.

In Monday's 9-2 victory over Lutheran, Armiger went 2-for-3 with four RBI, including a two-run homer.

Then, in an impressive display of switch-hitting, Armiger went 5-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI in the Lakers' 20-hit, title-clinching 17-10 win.

Armiger batted right-handed for a two-run single and a 2-0 lead, then left-handed for another single, and right-handed for a third single and his final two run-scoring doubles.

"I knew it had been a long time since Boys' Latin had won a title," said Armiger. "I just wanted to get the job done."

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