For a guy who was making his first start since undergoing hernia surgery, Chuck Harris sure appeared to be in mid-season form for 19th-ranked Glen Burnie yesterday in Gambrills.
The right-handed senior pitcher went six innings in his debut, scattering seven hits and yielding only one earned run before turning the ball over to Jay Sponaugle.
Sponaugle, who threw 125 pitches in a complete-game win over Severna Park on Monday, showed he still had something left as he retired the last two batters and earned a save in the Gophers' 3-2 upset over No. 8 Arundel.
"I don't like to use a guy after he's thrown a full game, but Jay did have three innings [of eligibility] left and he felt strong," said Glen Burnie coach Bruce Sider. "It was in the back of my mind that if we needed him we had him and he came through for us again."
The Gophers (8-3), who have won six straight since losing to Old Mill, 4-3, on April 7, scored a run in the second when Corey Davis hit a routine grounder to shortstop Casey Trout, who hesitated in throwing to first, allowing Davis to beat the throw and enabling Tony Hynson to score from third.
The Wildcats tied it up in the third when Brian Burden singled up the middle to bring home Gene Collins, who reached with a lead-off single.
Hynson got the Gophers going again in the fourth inning with a one-out single in the hole between short and third. Brad Emge followed with a base hit up the middle and Mike Ackerman brought both runners home with a double to left-center.
Arundel (9-4) got one back in its half of the fourth. Eric Lundborg led off with a double to center field and moved to third on two fielder's choice grounders. Dave Tilman's sharp grounder escaped the grasp of Glen Burnie's third baseman and Lundborg scored to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Wildcats threatened to score with two outs in the fifth on back-to-back singles by Burden and Sean Fairbanks, but Harris escaped the inning when Lundborg flied to center.
"Everything is coming together and now we're the team to beat," said Sponaugle. "We were struggling at first, but now we're getting some good innings. We're not intimidated by anybody."
Trout led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left and Harris walked Sylvester to set the stage for Sponaugle. Sponaugle got some help from his catcher when James Mabe gunned down Trout trying to steal third. From there, it took just four more pitches for Sponaugle to end the suspense.
Afterward, Walter stood by his decision to let Trout try and steal third with no outs and his team down by a run in the seventh.
Said Walter: "We had an excellent runner on base, he had an excellent lead, an excellent jump, and he was safe at third base and the umpire called him out, so what are you going to do?"