Howard pitcher Matt Holley had to admit that he could hardly contain his excitement before yesterday's game against Glenelg.
After all, everyone was supposed to be focused on Gladiators pitcher Chris Bowen, who is widely regarded as one of the county's best and was being watched by a University of Maryland scout.
However, it was Holley who stole the show with six strong innings, giving up only one earned run and striking out eight to lead the Lions to a 12-2 rout of Glenelg.
"I was just ready to go. The whole day I was ready to pitch," Holley said. "I was just really happy with it. Pitching against Bowen and knowing that Maryland was watching made me even more psyched up and ready."
Bowen didn't have his best stuff, but neither did the rest of the Gladiators.
Holley, however, had everything working for him as he mixed up fastballs, changeups and curves with relative ease. His talents were also on display at the plate, where he picked up his first varsity hit in the second inning, blasting a triple off Bowen into right-center field and later scoring the game's first run.
Glenelg tied things up in the top of the third when Ryan Barnoski singled, then came around to score on an error. But the dam broke in the bottom of the inning as the Lions scored seven runs with two outs, mostly thanks to six walks, an error and two hit batsmen. Lions' third baseman Tim McNulty also delivered a key hit, lacing an opposite-field double that chased Bowen from the game and gave Howard a lead it did not relinquish.
"I'd like to say we did it ourselves, but it was a combination of them not doing some things and us getting some timely hits," said Howard coach Rich Jenkins. "Sometimes that's the way it works. We needed this one today after losing to Wilde Lake [Friday]."
That setback came after Howard lost a seventh-inning lead when Holley gave up a home run. But there would be no such comeback by Glenelg. Holley never retired the Gladiators in order, walking four and giving up nine hits, but he also didn't yield an extra-base hit. Boomer Durham's two-run single ended things in the bottom of the sixth with the 10-run rule. Howard finished with 12 hits, two of them doubles, two of them triples.
"They outplayed us, that's what happened," said Glenelg coach Tom Thrasher. "We needed a couple hits in some key situations and we just didn't get them. It's tough, but then, it's a long season."