C. M. Wright rebounds to pull out 5-3 victory Mustangs, in usual form, wipe out 3-run deficit to eliminate Leonardtown; 3A baseball semifinals


C. Milton Wright has handled challenges well throughout this season.

From rebounding after a 2-3 start, to comeback wins in more than half of their games, the Mustangs have shown that no obstacle is too hard to overcome.

C. M. Wright found itself on familiar ground when it fell behind early in yesterday's Class 3A state semifinal. But the Mustangs beat the odds again, rallying from three runs down in the final three innings to defeat Leonardtown, 5-3, at Joe Cannon Satdium.

The win puts No. 15 C.M. Wright (16-5) in the state finals for the first time since 1988, and it will play the winner of Damascus/Calvert at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Joe Cannon.

"This is another example that our kids don't quit," said Mustangs coach Bob Rudolph, whose team has 11 times rallied to win this season. "They believe in themselves and it's a different kid that comes through every game."

The Raiders (16-7-1), from St. Mary's County, scored two runs on four hits in the second inning and added another run in the third for a 3-0 lead. But pitcher Andy Givens (5-1) recovered nicely and retired 14 of the last 18 batters he faced for the complete-game victory. While Givens held Leonardtown to just three base runners after the third, the Mustangs lineup came through.

"I don't let too much get to me on the mound," Givens said. "It was only three runs. I knew we would come back."

Brad Glascock started the Mustangs' three-run fifth with a triple to left-center -- C. M. Wright's first hit of the game. Leonardtown's starting pitcher Kevin Burch retired the first 12 Mustangs he faced, but was replaced by Marcel Countiss to start the fifth.

Glascock scored on Givens' one-out single and Sean Bantner's triple to center scored two more as C. M. Wright tied it at 3-3. For Bantner, it was his fourth extra base hit in three games.

"The count was favorable, so I knew if I could come through with a hit, it would really pick our team up," Bantner said. "I just got over a slump, but I'm on a streak now and I'm really into it."

C. M. Wright took the lead in the seventh, loading the bases with one out on a single by Bantner, before scoring twice on a error by Raiders' third baseman Chris King, who misplayed a ground ball that rolled down the right field line in foul territory.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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