The unranked Dulaney baseball team left Severna Park High School yesterday feeling it had made the biggest splash of the day in a round-robin tournament with No. 8 Mount Hebron and the host No. 2 Falcons.
In the day's final game, however, Mount Hebron pitcher Steve Swiech stole the spotlight by pitching a no-hitter against Severna Park in a 9-0 dismantling of the perennial state contender.
Relying mainly on a baffling change-up, the senior kept the Falcons off balance all game, striking out six and inducing a multitude of weak swings. Swiech (4-2) never allowed a ball out of the infield, thanks in large part to three diving stabs, and allowed only two Severna Park batters to reach base, both on walks.
"He just had nasty stuff," said Mount Hebron coach Matt Forsyth. "He had all three of his pitches working today."
His teammates gave him plenty of support, sending 11 men to the plate in a five-run first, and adding three in the fourth on Joe Michalski's three-run homer.
The performance handed Severna Park (11-2) its second loss of the season -- the other was April 10 against Annapolis -- and turned around what had been an otherwise lackluster day for the Vikings (10-3), who earlier lost to Dulaney, 6-3.
"This was definitely a huge emotional lift for us" said Forsyth. "We feel like we were the winners of this tournament."
Those sentiments, however, were also shared by Dulaney, a largely unheralded team that nearly pulled a sweep against a pair of top-10 teams, following its opening-game win by falling one clutch hit shy in a 2-1 loss to the Falcons.
"Coming in, everybody thought we'd be the first ones knocked off," said Dulaney coach Ron Audlin. "I told the kids, 'You can play with these guys. Just go out and play your game.' They did a nice job. It just goes to show that this team can play with anybody."
With the game tied at 1, the Falcons first escaped what looked to be a game-breaking inning by Dulaney in the seventh, then won it in the bottom of the inning on Joe Burke's one-out double to the gap in right-center, scoring Steve Weber, who had reached on a leadoff error, from second.
"He had started me with two fastballs in my last at-bat, so I was just looking fastball," said Burke of Dulaney starter Mike Clark, who went the distance, allowing five hits and one earned run. "Luckily, I hit it."
But it was in the field that the real battle took place.
Dulaney (7-5) stopped several scoring chances with a pair of double plays, a sprawling catch by right fielder Dan Tinker in the sixth that saved at least one run and an inning-ending pickoff at first by catcher Scott Headd with two men on base.
In the seventh, however, the Falcons returned the favor.
After Dulaney had loaded the bases with one out, leadoff hitter Phill Stuart sent a hard grounder toward the hole at short. Shortstop Eric Buntz ranged to his right, smothered the ball and fired home to get the force out. Reliever Jason Carl retired Jeff Duke on a comebacker to end the threat.
Earlier in the day, Dulaney got home runs from Stuart and Tinker, as well as a complete-game five-hitter from Trevor MacMeeken in its 6-3 win over Mount Hebron.