Centennial, Weitzel fall to Lansdowne in final


FREDERICK -- Centennial's Kurt Weitzel pitched one of the best games of his life against second-seeded Lansdowne in the Class 3A state baseball championship game yesterday at McCurdy Field.

Unfortunately for Weitzel and fourth-seeded Centennial, Lansdowne's Randy Musgrove pitched just a bit better and notched a 3-0 victory.

Musgrove (8-0) pitched a three-hitter, retired the first 10 batters and pitched to just two batters over the minimum. He struck out eight and walked none during the 85-minute contest.

Weitzel (8-4) pitched a six-hitter, striking out seven and walking one.

"He [Weitzel] kept us off-balance, curving us to death and then sneaking in the fastball," Lansdowne coach Ron Bradford said. "He was great."

The two teams might have played extra innings if not for a sixth-inning defensive breakdown by Centennial (14-8) that created three unearned runs for Lansdowne (18-3).

Weitzel, who wasn't quite as sharp yesterday as he was Tuesday when he shut out top-seeded Watkins Mill, 2-0, in the semifinal, was pleased with his effort.

And he praised his teammates for their efforts throughout the season.

"The errors today were just one of those things that couldn't be helped," he said. "We tried our best. No one expected us to be here today, and we have virtually our entire team back so we hope next year to do what Lansdowne did this year."

It was second-seeded Lansdowne's first state championship after finishing second last season. Each of their three losses this season was by one run.

Centennial, which started just two seniors, lost in the state semifinals in 1984 and 1985.

Weitzel hurt himself in the three-run sixth by walking leadoff batter Dan Muller. Rob Parsons hit into a fielder's choice -- a pop fly that center fielder Curtis Mitchell trapped before he recovered to get a force out at second base.

Musgrove, who went 3-for-3, singled to right field and sophomore outfielder Brian Dowell allowed the ball to roll past his glove, enabling the game's first run to score.

Brian Sullivan kept Lansdowne's rally alive on a pop fly to left field that Brent Mertes misplayed into a run-scoring error. Lansdowne's third run scored on a wild pitch.

Pitching had carried the Eagles most of the season. Centennial's team batting average was only .258, but the pitchers' ERA was 1.92.

The fielding was usually reliable, making just under two errors per game.

"We pretty much have to play error-free to win," Centennial coach Ron Martin said. "Kurt keeps us in games even when he is having only an average day. He's an exceptional pitcher."

The Eagles got only one runner into scoring position. It came in the sixth inning when Mitchell singled and was bunted to second by Mertes. But Musgrove got Matt Lynch on a pop-up and Dowell on a strikeout.

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