For the first time since the state baseball tournament began in 1975, the top two Baltimore-area teams will meet in a state final.
Arundel and Dulaney, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in The Sun's poll, each won in the Class 4A semifinals at Prince George's Stadium yesterday to set up the showdown.
The title game will be played at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.
Arundel got a well-pitched game from Jason Lively and key hits from the first four batters in its lineup, who had eight of the Wildcats' nine hits, to defeat Montgomery County's Wootton, 4-1, in yesterday's first game. Dulaney (22-2) earned its second straight trip to the 4A final with a 4-0 victory over Eleanor Roosevelt, of Prince George's County, behind left-hander Trevor MacMeekin.
The Wildcats won their 16th straight for a school-season record 23rd victory. In coach Bernie Walter's 28 years at the Gambrills school, the Wildcats (23-2) had won 22 games three times.
Lively (9-0), who doesn't strike out a lot of batters and makes the opposition hit the ball, threw 99 pitches while scattering five hits, striking out five (three in the first two innings, two in the last) and walking two.
"We had a good scouting report on their hitters from Greg LeGrand [JV coach], and Jason and [catcher Brian] Puglise followed it pretty well," said Walter.
After a double play got Lively out of trouble in the first inning, the junior right-hander retired 13 in a row before giving up his first hit with two outs in the fifth. The Patriots' Javier Gonzalez (2-for-3) doubled to left, but Lively got the next batter to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats staked their pitcher to a 4-0 lead with two runs each in the third and fifth innings. Puglise doubled in Greg Mitchell with the first run. Clean-up man Joe Stevens, who was 3-for-3, followed with a run-scoring two-bagger.
In the fifth, Livelygot his second hit and scored on Puglise's second hit. Puglise scored the fourth run on Nick Pleyo's sacrifice fly.
No. 2 Dulaney 4, Eleanor Roosevelt 0: Roosevelt (18-5) is tired of seeing Dulaney left-hander MacMeekin and won't have to again. MacMeekin, a senior, shut out the Raiders for the second straight year in a 4A semifinal.
MacMeekin (8-0), a senior, blanked the Raiders, 2-0, in last year's semifinals on four hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks. Last night, MacMeekin fashioned a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and no walks on just 80 pitches.
The Lions gave MacMeekin all the runs he needed with three in the second inning. Russell Frost singled in the first and was tripled home by James Lewis. Lewis scored on a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze bunt by Nick Stewart.
No. 4 Northeast 4, No. 7 Liberty 2: Eric Brown (7-1) spun a six-hitter with six strikeouts and two walks as Northeast (19-6) advanced to its first 3A state final since 1996, the first under fourth-year coach Marshal Kawecki.
Westlake 4, No. 14 Franklin 3: The Indians (15-8) took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning but saw it turn into a loss on Don Mahoney's three-run homer in the top of the fifth for the Waldorf team off pitcher P. J. Spahn. Franklin had taken the 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth on Kyle Storm's two-run homer.
Westlake and Northeast play for the 3A title at 7 p.m. Saturday.
No. 15 Centennial 8, Hereford 4: By knocking off the Bulls (14-8), the Eagles (16-9) from Ellicott City, a state finalist most recently in 1999, get to play Blake (19-1), an 8-2 victor over Wicomico yesterday, for the Class 2A state title at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Joe Cannon Stadium.
Sophomore second baseman A.J. Tinnerella was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Junior right-hander, Tom Phelan scattered seven hits, struck out 10 and walked two over six innings to pick up the win for the Eagles.
Yesterday's results Class 4A
Arundel 4, Wootton 1
Dulaney 4, E. Roosevelt 0 Class 3A
Northeast 4, Liberty 2
Westlake 4, Franklin 3 Class 2A
Blake 8, Wicomico 2
Centennial 8, Hereford 4 Class 1A
St. Michaels 8, Southern-G 2
Brunswick 10, Rising Sun 9, 8 innings
Tomorrow Class 4A (at Prince George's Stadium)
Arundel vs. Dulaney, 7 Saturday Class 3A (at Joe Cannon Stadium)
Northeast vs. Westlake, 7 Class 2A (at Arundel High)
Blake vs. Centennial, 3:30 Class 1A (at McCurdy Field)
St. Michaels vs. Brunswick, noon