"Yeah!" screamed Calvert Hall pitcher John McKay, cocking his fist triumphantly as Mount St. Joseph's final batter, Eric Jeschke, went down swatting at a high pitch.
Jeschke earlier had one of the two hits the 6-foot-2, 180-pound McKay had allowed.
But he wound up being the 14th strikeout by the right-hander, who walked just two in a 3-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference victory over the No. 6 Gaels.
"This was a great way to win against St. Joe, with them also being our rivals in basketball," said McKay, an All-Catholic League guard for the Cardinals' MIAA champion basketball team.
It was a masterful display of control and concentration by McKay (2-0), who threw 91 pitches and looked strong throughout. His hardest, an 85 mph fastball, thudded loudly in the glove of catcher Randy Hohenstein. "He had a real nice day out there," said coach Joe Binder, whose top-ranked Cardinals improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the league. "He had his breaking pitches going over very well."
McKay was at his worst in the sixth, getting tagged for a single by Kyle Skinner before striking out the next two hitters. He then issued his last walk with two men on before getting his 12th strikeout on a slider.
"I came back with that a lot today," McKay said, "but I was spotting my fastball pretty good to set it up."
Keeping pace with McKay was junior Ryan Baker (108 pitches), who scattered five hits, walked two and struck out nine for the Gaels (6-1, 3-1).
Baker (2-1) had struck out five of the first 13 batters he faced against one hit when Andy Bair (2-for-3) got up with no one on and two outs in the fourth. At full count, Bair, a left-handed hitter, got around on a fastball, blasting it 325 feet, and over the %J right-field fence.
"It was a waist-high fastball, and he turned on it," said Baker, who issued his first walk in the fifth inning.
"It was a 3-2 count, and he'd already fouled off one of my fastballs, so I was going to throw off-speed, but I was afraid I'd walk him."
Baker gave up a single to the next batter, Matt Schruefer, before striking out Hohenstein to end the innning.
The Cardinals led, 1-0, after an inning. Joe Miller opened with a single and took second on a wild pitch. Jeschke then gathered a bunt by Jason Dean, but second baseman Matt Gribbin -- covering first base -- dropped the ball as Dean reached safely.
Then, as Dean stole second, catcher Everett Cooper's throw sailed wide, giving Miller a two-base pass for the game-winning run.
Ryan Tolson, pinch running for Kevin Olkowski, who singled, scored the Cardinals' final run in the sixth after Cooper tried get him stealing but threw the ball past second base.
"It's another good win, but we took some pitches I don't think we should have," said Binder. "But give the kid [Baker] credit, he threw a good game."
* Edgewood 17, Aberdeen 8: John Cephalis hit three home runs to lead host Edgewood (2-3) past Aberdeen (1-4). Cephalis, a senior catcher, went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.