Top-ranked Arundel erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and went on to win its third Anne Arundel County championship game, but 16th overall, by 12-3 over No. 7 Northeast at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans last night.
Nick Pleyo had three hits and three RBIs for the Wildcats (19-2), and Joey Frykman had a bases-clearing double in the crucial fifth inning to spoil the first appearance by Northeast (15-6) in the county final.
Junior right-hander Jason Lively (7-0) scattered nine hits, struck out four and walked one in going the distance on 104 pitches. Lively found out a half hour before game time that he was pitching.
"I'm speechless to win the county championship game," said Lively. "It's amazing. I can't compare it to any other game."
Lively continually pitched out of trouble in the first five innings before his teammates broke the game open in the fifth. His curveball abandoned him early, so Lively relied on two pitches to get the job done.
"My curve wasn't working and my slider was the only thing other than my fastball that I was getting over," said Lively, who threw the hardest he has in any game this season.
Arundel is the only school to qualify all six times since the championship game began in 1996 and won in 1996 and 1999. The game was rained out the first year with Arundel and Old Mill declared co-champs and again in 1998 with Severna Park declared the winner.
It was Arundel's 16th county baseball title since 1969 and the 15th under Bernie Walter, who is in his 28th season as Wildcats coach. Walter is the state's all-time winningest public school coach at 479-131 (.785) with a record eight state titles.
"This is a special group, great bunch of kids," said Walter.'They have great character and whether we win another game or not we're pretty proud of them."
Mike Lawlor, Jim Wojtanik and Eric Brown had two hits each for the losers. Brown had a leadoff triple in the top of the fifth, but Lively pitched out of the inning, leaving Brown as the seventh runner stranded.