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Merson pitches Atholton to 7-5 upset of Hammond


Visiting Atholton pulled off the surprise of the baseball playoffs yesterday, getting a complete game from pitcher Steve Merson to upset No. 3 Hammond, 7-5, in a Class 2A South regional semifinal.

"Hammond has had a great year; the two times we played them, they just kicked us," said Atholton coach Kevin Kelly. "But we got some clutch hits when we needed them and gave ourselves a chance to win."

The Bears (20-2) hit five home runs in two regular-season games against the Raiders (12-8), but got only one against them this time, a fourth-inning, bases-empty blast from Jason Maxey, his 12th of the season, tops in the metro area. Raiders catcher Chris Trigger hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning.

Atholton will face Centennial, a 12-0 winner over Central, in the regional final tomorrow.

No. 1 Arundel 5, Old Mill 4: Nick Pleyo's ground single up the middle with one out in the bottom of the seventh scored Brian Puglise from second base to give host Arundel a Class 4A East semifinal victory.

The Wildcats (21-2), who have won 14 in a row, play host to No. 11 Severna Park (16-7) tomorrow at a time to be announced today.

No. 11 Severna Park 9, Glen Burnie 6, 8 innings: Down 4-1 in the top of the sixth, the Falcons (16-7) rang up five runs highlighted by Mike Prim's inside-the-park grand slam to take a 6-4 lead in a Class 4A East semifinal.

No. 2 Dulaney 5, Parkville 1: David Gobeli struck out 11 and walked one as the Lions (20-2) won a Class 4A North semifinal over the visiting Knights (12-6).

The Lions advance to face Mervo in the regional final tomorrow at Herring Run Park.

Mervo 6, Patterson 5: The Mustangs beat the Clippers when center fielder Ryan O'Malley threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the top of the seventh inning in a Class 4A North regional.

Annapolis 5, South River 3: David Palmer and the Panthers (9-12) made a five-run second inning stand up to defeat the host Seahawks (9-11) for a third time this season in a 3A East semifinal.

No. 7 Northeast 4, No. 12 River Hill 3, 8 innings: A wild pitch with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth scored Ryan Michaelis with the winning run as Northeast (17-6) edged River Hill (14-6) in a 3A East semifinal.

Right fielder Jim Wojtanik threw out a Hawk at home in the top of the eighth to allow the Eagles to play at Annapolis tomorrow for the region title.

No. 13 Liberty 10, Thomas Johnson 7: With two outs in the second inning, the Lions (13-4) scored eight runs, led by Robbie Ruch's two-run home run, to win a Class 3A West region semifinal at Liberty.

Lansdowne 10, Western Tech 6: Joe Luedtke went 2-for-3 with a triple, home run and three RBIs to power the Vikings (15-7) past host Western Tech in a Class 2A North regional semifinal.

Hereford 10, Poly 4: Right-hander Brandon Mourges (3-2) went five innings, gave up four hits, four runs and two walks and struck out six for the Class 2A North win. Patrick Nagle hit a grand slam for the Bulls (13-7-1) to key the five-run sixth inning.

Centennial 12, Central 0: Tom Phelan pitched a five-inning no-hitter on 63 pitches and the Eagles scored 11 runs in the first inning to advance to the 2A South final at Atholton. Phelan struck out 10 hitters and walked only one in the win. "He was very sharp, he didn't fool around and went right after them," said Eagles coach Dave Appleby. "He was dominant."

Edgewood 6, Parkside 5: Shamari Olden hit a home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to give Edgewood (9-10) the Class 2A East semifinal victory at top-seeded Parkside (14-4).

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