Unranked St. Paul's, a 5-18 team last spring with 16 underclassmen and only two seniors this year, soared into first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference yesterday.
Left-hander Brian Perkins had his fastball, slider and curve working yesterday, and Brent Weiss had the hot bat as the Crusaders stunned No. 4 Calvert Hall, 3-2, in Towson.
"This is a huge win," Weiss said. "Coach said it's the first time St. Paul's has ever beaten Calvert Hall in baseball. I love this team. Last year, we had guys who didn't care about the game. But this year, we have guys who want to work their tails off."
Perkins (3-0) scattered five hits, never more than one in an inning, struck out three, and walked two on 79 pitches (52 strikes) in giving up single runs in the second and fourth innings.
His teammates twice turned 6-4-3 double plays to bail him out.
The first one from shortstop James Fontelieu to second baseman Tom Herrmann to first baseman Ben Farmer came in the first inning and was duplicated to end the game after Cardinals pinch hitter Brent Gossman singled with one out in the seventh.
Weiss hit a bases-empty homer in the first inning, stole home in the fourth, and doubled in Walter Hill, who had tripled to lead off the sixth, with the winning run.
Coupled with No. 3 Mount St. Joseph's 6-1 upset loss to Gilman, the Crusaders (10-3 overall) moved into first place at 4-1, as St. Joe (13-4 overall) slipped to 4-2. Calvert Hall (9-5) fell to 3-3 along with Gilman, Archbishop Spalding and John Carroll.
"I told people before the season that we had a team that could compete and be in the playoffs at the end," said St. Paul's coach Paul Bernstorf, whose roster includes six freshmen and one senior starter. "We're a little ahead of ourselves but playing well. It's the first time I've brought a team over here [Calvert Hall] that thought they could win."
St. Paul's dealt Calvert Hall its second straight 3-2 loss, the other to Gilman on Wednesday, and both without veteran coach Joe "Snooky" Binder.
Binder completed a brief suspension yesterday over "an in-school matter," athletic director Lou Eckerl said.
"Joe will be back at practice tomorrow [today] and Sunday for our doubleheader [11 a.m.] with Gloucester [N.J.] Catholic," Eckerl said last night.
After Weiss's homer in the first over the left-field fence onto the road outside Calvert Hall's new stadium, the Cardinals got back even on a triple by Brian Anecharico, then a passed ball.
The 1-1 tie stood until both clubs scored in the fourth. Weiss led off the fourth with a walk, stole second and third and scored during a pickoff attempt.
Calvert Hall's Mike Santmeyer tied it again, singling home Anecharico, who had walked and moved to second on a wild pitch.
Hill drilled his triple into the gap in right-center to chase right-hander Matt Kyle, whose lefty brother, Ryan, replaced him. The latter got Herrmann to ground back to him before Weiss knocked in Hill with the winning run.
Among those attending the game was sportscaster Jim McKay, who shook hands with just about everyone afterward.