Atholton won the Class 2A South Region baseball championship by defeating Howard yesterday, 7-2.
Atholton starting pitcher Doug Airel (4-2) threw six innings, struck out eight and allowed only three hits.
The No. 19-ranked Raiders (18-6) will play Tuesday at Arundel High against either Lansdowne or Loch Raven.
Atholton scored once in the first inning on a walk to Ryan Schulz, a stolen base and an error.
After Howard's Brent Hanauer doubled in a run in the bottom of the first inning, Atholton went ahead 2-1 in the second inning on a triple by Wade Zancan and a wild pitch.
Atholton added a third run in the fourth inning when Ryan Lambert walked, stole a base, moved up on a sacrifice fly and scored on a wild pitch.
The Raiders broke the game open with four runs in the fifth inning. Ross Laidig hit an RBI single, and Adam Beaver had a two-run triple and scored on an error.
Anthony Aceves homered for Howard in the sixth inning to complete the scoring.
Matt Martiny pitched the seventh inning for Atholton.
"Airel got stonger as he went along," Atholton coach Kevin Kelly said. "It's fun to get back into states. We've played more consistently and hit the ball in the three games leading up to today. It was tough to play four games in four days."
Howard (9-13) made a Cinderella run during the playoffs, defeating No. 10- ranked River Hill, Central and No. 9-ranked Centennial before losing to Atholton.
"I think Howard has come a long way and their coach, Rich Jenkins, has done a great job," Kelly said.
Atholton also made a Cinderella regional playoff run, rallying from four runs down to beat Lackey, 10-4, and from five runs down to defeat McDonough in the semifinals, 6-5.
McDonough 7, Centennial 0: McDonough senior pitcher Clarissa Crowell gave up a leadoff single to Kim Paulus, then shut down Centennial the rest of the game as the two-time defending state champions went on to a 7-0 victory in the Class 2A South region championship at Laurel Springs Regional Park in Charles County.
Crowell, who has signed with Virginia Tech, struck out 16.
McDonough broke the game open with a five-run outburst in the fifth inning. Denise Hartnet had a bases-loaded double and then came home on a home run by Mandy Welch.
Centennial had two runners on in the first inning -- Paulus and Michelle Kincaid, who reached on an error. But Crowell kept the Eagles off the bases the rest of the game.
Pub Date: 5/17/98