What was routine for Arundel was unnerving for Patterson at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans last night.
For top-ranked Arundel, it was business as usual as the Wildcats (22-4) copped their state-record eighth Maryland championship by 12-1 over No. 9 Patterson (21-3) in the Class 4A final.
The game was stopped because of the 10-run mercy rule after five innings in Patterson's first appearance in a Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association baseball final.
"We were a little tight, and we succumbed to the pressure in our first time at the dance," said Roger Wrenn, Patterson's veteran coach. "Our first time here at night, in front of a big crowd, we were a little unnerved."
Arundel contributed to the Clippers' jitters by scoring all 12 runs in the the first three innings with an 11-hit attack to deal Patterson ace Shawn Fisher (9-1) his first loss.
"Yeah, they're the best team I've played against in high school," said Fisher. "We came into the game knowing they were going to hit the ball."
Norris Roy had three hits. Two hits each came from Todd Heron, Hector Guadalupe and Ryan Frostbutter.
Junior right-hander Andy Kostic (10-1) had his usual pinpoint control (40 of his 56 pitches were strikes) as he threw a three-hitter with seven strikeouts and no walks.
"Arundel is an excellent program and everything they're advertised to be," said Wrenn. "And of course, we all knew that. Congratulations to them. They're an excellent, excellent state champion."
The Wildcats, who scored 67 runs in six straight playoff victories (two of them in five innings), have claimed four of their eight state titles during the 1990s, the others coming in 1991, 1993 and 1995. No school has been in as many finals (11) as Arundel.
"Our coaching staff has been around awhile, and some of the boys have been around here long enough to know what it's all about," said coach Bernie Walter. "We practice under pressure, which makes the games easier."
That was the case last night -- just another game to the Wildcats, who jumped right on top.
After Kostic retired the Clippers in order in their initial at-bat, Arundel scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Heron led off with a walk but was thrown out stealing by the Clippers' Terry Bell because Fisher did a great job holding the runner.
Guadalupe, the Arundel shortstop, doubled to left and dived head-first into home on Roy's single to right. John McCurdy's sacrifice fly and Frostbutter's single brought in two more.
The double by Guadalupe tied the state record (16) for a season, set by Arundel's 1995 state champion shortstop, Casey Trout. Guadalupe broke the record in his next at-bat as the Wildcats scored five times in the second to make it 8-1.
Patterson got on the board in the second inning on Ryan Pratt's single that scored Rob Struhar, who had doubled.
Center fielder Heron, who made all three putouts in the fourth inning, one of them after a long run, tripled in the first run in the Arundel second.
Arundel caused the 10-run lead rule to be invoked with four runs in the third. Guadalupe and Roy had RBIs, and a couple of wild pitches and an error plated the other two.
After the last out, the Wildcats mobbed Kostic and formed a huge mound of Kelly green in the pitcher's circle.
"Being in a state championship pile-up is something I've been dreaming about since my sophomore year," said catcher Tom Ogilvie, who was on the 1996 Arundel team that lost a 2-1 heart-breaker to Wootton.
Guadelupe, who came to Maryland from Puerto Rico three years ago, cried. "I'm real happy," he said. "This is a group of guys I will never forget."
Neither will Patterson.
Pub Date: 5/23/98