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Arundel wins 6th crown Fairbanks powers Wildcats to 11-2 rout


FREDERICK -- As often happens in long-awaited matchups, an unlikely hero emerges.

Arundel's Mike Fairbanks was that hero last night at McCurdy Field as Arundel (21-1) won a record sixth state championship in baseball.

The Wildcats, ranked No. 1 in the Baltimore area, rolled to the Class 4A title with an 11-2 victory over Gaithersburg (17-3), ranked No. 1 in the Washington area.

The Wildcats got a well-pitched game from junior right-hander Brandon Agamennone, but Fairbanks took the hitter's spotlight.

Last night, Fairbanks, Arundel's unheralded right fielder, looked like the best hitter on a ballclub noted for its potent offense.

The senior went 2-for-4 (including a double and two-run homer), had three RBI and scored three runs to pace a 12-hit attack.

Most of the attention for the Arundel offense this year has centered around Tim Giles (six homers, 32 RBI, .561), catcher Mike Cozzone (.585) and shortstop Jeff Hedrick (.400), but last night belonged to Fairbanks.

"We knew they weren't going to pitch to Giles [the cleanup hitter], and that Mike had to have a good night and he did," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter, who savored his sixth state title in his 20th year at the Gambrills school.

Fairbanks said, "It felt great. This is what we worked for all year."

The Wildcats scored all seven runs in the first inning after two outs.

Trojan starter Scott Turner (6-2) struck out the first two batters but then gave up seven hits, including

three doubles, as the Wildcats took immediate control of the game.

Cozzone started things with a double to left and Giles was intentionally walked.

Fairbanks' ground-rule double scored courtesy runner Jamie Stoddard with Giles stopping at third.

Wildcats DH J. P. Noon doubled in two and then Arundel got four straight run-scoring singles by Brian Sands, Tony Costanzo, Agamennone and Hedrick.

Arundel added two more in the second on a Fairbanks shot over the left-center field fence after Giles had lined a single to left.

The Wildcats closed the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a single to center by Sands (2-for-4) through a drawn-in infield.

Agamennone (8-0, four saves) hurled a three-hitter with seven strikeouts, including one on the final out that set off a wild celebration at the pitcher's mound.

The victory avenged last year's 4-1 semifinal loss to Gaithersburg.

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