Weitzel leads Centennial into final Baseball


Kurt Weitzel pitched and batted fourth-seeded Centennial (14-7) to a 2-0 extra-inning upset of top-seeded Watkins Mill in the Class 3A state semifinal yesterday at Arundel High School.

Weitzel, a junior right-hander, allowed four hits, struck out 13 and walked none in seven innings before Dave Hudson relieved him and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

Watkins Mill (16-3) never got a runner past second base.

Centennial scored its two runs in the top of the eighth. Brian Dowell led off with a single against relief pitcher Josh Smithburger. Dowell reached second on Jason Babcock's ground out and scored on Weitzel's triple to right field. Dave Hudson drove in Weitzel with a sacrifice fly.

"I'm ecstatic," Weitzel said. "I'll never forget this night."

Centennial will face Lansdowne, a 5-4 winner over Thomas Stone, for the championship Saturday at McCurdy Field in Frederick.

Watkins Mill starter Jason Smithburger, headed to the University of Maryland next year on a baseball scholarship, held Centennial scoreless through seven innings while striking out 14 and allowing three hits. He walked two and threw a fastball clocked as high as 90 mph.

Neither Smithburger nor Weitzel was able to pitch the eighth inning because both had used up their weekly allotment of 14 innings.

Weitzel said his team wasn't really intimidated by Watkins Mill, which was ranked No. 4 in The Washington Post.

"We've been right there with every team we've played this season," Weitzel said. "We have great pitching and defense and our hitting can be lethal at times."

He said Centennial's spirits were lifted after Jason Smithburger left the game and was relieved by his brother, Josh.

"He [Josh] didn't throw as hard so we were all hoping we could hit him," Weitzel said.

The 13 strikeouts were Weitzel's personal high this season. He averages seven.

"I had control of all my pitches, fastball, forkball and curve and was consistently getting them on the corners," Weitzel said. "I was using my curve as my changeup and they were lunging at it. My catcher, Jason Babcock, called a great game today and deserves a lot of the credit."

Centennial threatened to score in the second and fourth innings, getting runners as far as third base after doubles by Kevin O'Connor and in the second and Babcock in the sixth. But Smithburger escaped both threats.

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