Among the 200 or so spectators who watched yesterday's Calvert Hall-McDonogh game was Jim Gilbert, mid-Atlantic scouting supervisor for the Orioles.
Perched behind the McDonogh backstop, he used his radar gun to monitor two of the area's best pitchers, if not the premier pitchers in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association: Calvert Hall left-hander Andy Bair (6-0, one save) and McDonogh's ace right-hander, Mike Ginsberg (5-1).
Bair, a 6-foot-6, 235-pounder, was clocked at a high of 82 mph as he struck out seven against two walks and three hits in a 2-1 victory.
His 86 pitches were three more than Ginsberg (5-11, 160), who peaked at 79 mph, struck out four, allowed five hits and walked none.
The Cardinals (19-2), coming off a four-game trip to Ohio and their first losses, had to play with coach Joe Binder watching from a distance. Binder was ejected from the Cardinals' last game, a 15-3 loss to Wyoming.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking today," said acting coach Todd Binder, Joe's son. "We played well, considering. I'm just glad I had a guy like Andy."
In four previous meetings against Bair, McDonogh (12-2) had just four hits against 42 strikeouts.
The Eagles' history against Bair includes being troubled by his outside fastball, but yesterday they employed a pesky yet successful bunting strategy and were within striking distance in the final inning, when Jason Taylor led off with a bunt.
But Bair responded, throwing out the next batter and striking out the one after that.
The game's final batter, Mike Dubansky, blasted a shot to deep right-center field that right fielder Scott Jachimski was able to chase down.
"This was encouraging, because we felt we had them on the ropes and rattled a little today," said Taylor.
Said Ginsberg, who began a double play to end the visiting seventh: "We had runners in scoring position in two of the last three innings and we didn't capitalize."
But Calvert Hall had come through when it had to, scoring both runs in the second on a run-scoring single by Bill Staub and an RBI double by Randy Hohenstein.
McDonogh's run came when Rich Levin scored on Scott Breault's fly, caught in foul territory by diving left fielder Matt Schruefer.
"I can't tell you how important it was to go ahead like that," said Hohenstein, a junior who went 2-for-2. "We'd played flat coming in, so that early lead put some doubts out of our minds."
McDonogh left two runners stranded in the sixth, when a diving Kevin Olkowski prevented Dennis Badham's hard, low single from drifting into the outfield, causing Guy Robertson -- who reached on an error -- to hold up at third base. The next batter popped up, and Levin flied out to end the inning.
"If Olkowski doesn't make that play, we score the tying run," said Ginsberg.
"If I was them, I'd be worried," Badham said, "because we're creeping closer."