Glenelg's Steve Dulaney spent much of this season's first BTC meeting with Atholton pitcher Dan Keyser on the base paths, compiling one of the better offensive days of his career to help the Gladiators score a one-run win.
Yesterday in the rematch, the second baseman proved it was no fluke.
Dulaney played a part in every Glenelg run, going 2-for-3, with a booming double, two RBIs and two runs scored as the fifth-ranked Gladiators again defeated the host Raiders, 3-1, in the championship game of the Atholton Spring Tournament.
"The last game I did pretty well against him, so I just tried to do the same thing," said Dulaney. "I was looking for the fastball inside."
But while he was having his way at the plate, three Glenelg pitchers were throttling a strong-hitting Atholton team that had scored 14 runs the day before.
Starter Ben Gugliotta went the first three innings, allowing a run on four hits and using his occasional wildness to keep Raiders hitters off-balance. Dennis Pagel entered the game to start the fourth and looked sharp, allowing three hits in three innings and picking up the win in relief.
Zach Guerra then set the top of the Raiders' lineup down in order in the seventh to earn the save.
In the tournament's two days, Glenelg (11-1) used seven pitchers, allowing four runs on 10 hits in back-to-back victories.
"It helps keep the rust off our pitchers," said Gladiators coach Ed Ashwell. "We've still got the whole second half of the season to go, and we couldn't afford to have everybody take a week off right now. This was an important tournament in the sense that I wanted everybody to stay in their rhythm."
If not for Atholton's inability to get the clutch hit, however, Glenelg could have been staring at a loss.
The Raiders (7-5) put runners in scoring position in each of the first six innings, and failed to get even one of them home. Brandon Eierman (in the first), Jason Sandner (in the third) and Jamie Burford (in the fourth) all reached at least second base with less than two outs, only to be stranded.
"We had opportunities," said Atholton coach Kevin Kelly, who said Keyser pitched well enough to win for the second time against Glenelg. "We had chances and we just couldn't cash in on them. It was a pretty well-played game, but they took advantage of their opportunities and we didn't."
Trailing, 1-0, the Gladiators took the lead for good in their half of the first. After Sean Lookingbill led off with a triple to left, Dulaney brought him home with a single to tie the game at one.
Later in the inning, Gugliotta's single to right scored Dulaney to make it 2-1.
Glenelg added to its lead in the second as Dulaney's fielder's choice brought in the third run after Keyser had walked the bases full.
After posting a 12-8 record last season, the Gladiators look to be regaining the form that brought them a Class 2A state title in 1993. After an 11-1 start, players say they hope a return trip is in the cards.
"It's possible," said Dulaney. "If we keep hitting the way we are and our pitching holds up, we should be able to make it."
Atholton Spring Tournament: Matt Rollman scored the winning goal with 22 seconds left in overtime off an assist from Sam Smith as No. 12 Oakland Mills (9-1) defeated host Atholton, 7-6, in the championship game.
Iggy Levelv, Matt Cartwright and Dennis Cole each had two goals for Oakland Mills and Smith finished with two assists. Tim Buscher had four goals and Seth Lyons had a goal and an assist for Atholton (4-7), which got 23 saves from goalie Mike Radford.
I= In the consolation game, Glenelg defeated Hammond, 14-10.