When Francis Scott Key last faced Walkersville pitcher Bronson McLain, the Eagles knocked him out of the game in the second inning.
Yesterday, coach Rob Caples' team got another shot at McLain. Only this time, the results were far less satisfying.
McLain used his four-pitch repertoire to slow Key's offense, going the distance and giving up just two hits to lead Walkersville past the host Eagles, 6-2, in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League game.
McLain threw 97 pitches, mostly relying on fastballs and changeups but also throwing in occasional sliders and curves.
Caples, however, said the outcome was just as much a matter of bad luck.
"The kid was pretty tough, but it was one of those days when everything we hit went right at them," he said. "That's just baseball, and there's nothing you can do about that."
Key got both of its hits in the fourth inning, when Greg Bowers led off with an infield single and later went to second on another single up the middle by Joey Brooks. The Eagles (10-4 overall and in the league) reached base six times in the game, including once on an error and another time on a dropped third strike.
"This was definitely my best game of the season," said McLain (5-2). "My slider and changeup were working, and I was able to threw the heat by them, too."
Meanwhile, the Lions (10-6, 9-6) got all the offense they needed in the early innings.
Leading, 1-0, their big inning came in the fourth when they batted around and scored four times off starter Gabe Stephenson. After Ryan Ebaught singled to center to start the rally, the next five Walkersville hitters reached base.
Reliever David Johnson came in late in the inning to quiet the storm, pitching well the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done.
Key mounted a comeback in the fifth, taking advantage of three errors to score two runs, but could get no closer.
For Walkersville, which rallied from a 10-1 deficit on Tuesday to beat South Hagerstown, 12-11, the solid performance came as no surprise.
"There's no question about the fact that winning that game got the guys pumped up," said Walkersville coach Paul Merrill, whose team has now defeated the league's first- and second-place teams in back-to-back games.
Said McLain: "We're playing together more than we have all year."