Down 2-0 going into its final at-bat, ninth-ranked Old Mill scored five runs and then held on to post a 5-4 victory over No. 5 Arundel in the season opener for both teams yesterday in Gambrills.
Year in and year out, the Patriots and Wildcats are Anne Arundel County's teams to beat and opponents use them as the measuring stick. They split four games last season with Old Mill winning the county championship game, but Arundel turned the tables and knocked the Pats out of the 4A playoffs.
Old Mill senior Al Gowing, who saw limited action last year, came on in the bottom of the seventh and got three outs for starting senior lefthander Steve Fogler.
Fogler (six innings, four hits, one walk, three strikeouts) was on the Old Mill varsity last season, but never pitched an inning.
The non-league game (the teams are in separate divisions and play only one county game that counts) was moved from Old Mill to Arundel because of wet grounds in Millersville. It did not give the Wildcats an advantage.
"Twenty-five years, we've never played like we played today. Bad attitude," said a tight-lipped coach Bernie Walter of Arundel. "I thought they might lose the ballgame when they got on the field today. They weren't ready to play."
It first appeared Old Mill wasn't ready at the plate. Arundel's Ryan Frostbutter (6 1/3 innings, seven hits, two walks, six strikeouts) no-hit the Patriots through four innings while his team staked him to a 2-0 lead.
Frostbutter helped his cause with an RBI double in the second inning and the Wildcats added an unearned run on Austin Decker's RBI groundout in the fourth.
"I was a little concerned at the beginning but our guys seemed like they had a lot of poise for a young ballclub," said Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery, who lost eight starters from last year's top-ranked 21-3 team.
"I kept telling them to be patient and the hits are going to come."
An infield hit by Quentin Cruppenink and a single to right by Derek Dawson (2-for-3) started the uprising in the seventh. Two Wildcats errors made it 2-1 and Patriot leadoff man Brandon White singled home the tying and go-ahead runs, chasing Frosbutter.
Jason Galloway followed with his second hit of the game, an RBI single to center off Austin Decker, and Fogler singled in the fifth run off Justin Bell.
Tom Ogilvie, the returning All-County catcher, started Arundel's seventh with a double and two Patriots errors cut it to 5-4.
With runners on first and second and only one out, Gowing struck out Ryan Erhard swinging and coaxed Hector Guadalupe, who had doubled in the third, to foul out to end it.
Pub Date: 3/24/98