GAITHERSBURG -- When third baseman Dino Alger squeezed a soft liner off the bat of Eleanor Roosevelt's Keith Deverin for the final out, Patterson had its first-ever state playoff victory in the Class 4A semifinals.
The final out at Kelley Field set off a wild celebration and a huge pile-up of Clippers on the pitcher's mound. Ninth-ranked Patterson had just posted a 5-4 victory over the Prince George's representative in eight innings.
The Clippers will play in their first state final 7 p.m. Friday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans vs. Arundel.
Shawn Fisher, who relieved starter Jeff Simmers in the sixth inning and coaxed Deverin into the final out with the tying run on third, was on the bottom of the pile.
"It felt great, because this is our first time in the semifinals and a lot of people counted us out," said Fisher, who also scored the winning run on a gift in the top of the eighth.
Patterson (21-2) had taken the lead at 4-3 in the top of the fifth, only to have the Raiders (13-6) tie it up in the bottom half. After scoreless sixth and seventh innings, Fisher led off the eighth by reaching on an error.
Roosevelt pitcher Robert Heilig balked Fisher to second and then on catcher Deverin's return throw to Heilig the ball sailed over the pitcher's head into center field. Heilig was looking down when Deverin threw the ball.
Fisher made third easily and when the ball went through the legs of the center fielder, Fisher came home standing up with the winning run.
In the Raiders' final at-bat, third baseman Carlton Bragg, who had cracked a three-run homer in the first and later doubled, drew a leadoff walk. When Fisher balked, Bragg was awarded second and stole third as Bryan Harrington struck out.
Fisher then struck out Kevin Snowden and got Deverin for the final out.
"We're real happy to be here and to advance to the state championship game Friday night," said Patterson coach Roger Wrenn. "I lobbied hard for a long time for some of the old MSA teams to get to play some of these teams in a state tournament. And maybe this team is not quite as good as some of those teams, but we're happy to be here."
Wrenn's Clippers got an RBI single from Fisher in the first inning, but their lead was erased by Bragg's homer.
In the fifth, Raiders starting pitcher Harrington lost his control, walking the first three batters. A single by Terry Bell scored two runs and the Clippers executed a double steal with runners on first and third.
After giving up the three-run homer to Bragg in the first, Simmers settled down for the Clippers. Patterson played great defense behind him with two double plays and a couple of sterling plays by Alger at third.
Pub Date: 5/20/98