Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl went to the mound in the top of the seventh with two outs, the bases loaded and his team up a run. He wasn't looking to change pitchers but was looking for senior leadership.
He found it in reliever Sean Rae, as well as a 9-8 victory over nemesis and No. 3 St. Paul's.
It was the first meeting between the two who have played in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference final the past two years, with St. Paul's winning twice.
Rae, a senior right-hander whose 4 2/3 innings of relief had kept the host and No. 6 Cardinals (6-4, 4-2) in the game, struck out Stephan Bernstorf to end it.
Chad Durakis led off the seventh for St. Paul's with a homer to left before Rae walked in a run to make it 9-8 and prompt Eckerl's visit.
"When I went out there, he told me he wanted to finish it," said Eckerl, whose team has won four in a row.
"He showed a lot of senior leadership and threw the ball the way we knew he can."
Rae said: "My adrenaline was pumping in that last inning and I lost my control, but I really wanted to finish it."
Rae gave up four hits and no runs or walks until the last inning while his team overcame a 6-2 deficit.
"I was only going to use Sean two innings because we were down 6-2 and I didn't want to waste our No. 1 pitcher if we're not going to get back in this," said Eckerl.
"It was 6-4 when I wanted to take him out, but he told he wanted to get a win here and told me he would shut them down the rest of the way."
The Cardinals pecked away on two doubles by Gavin Swanson and a homer by Scott Krieger before scoring four times in the bottom of the sixth off St. Paul's starter Nathan Curd and reliever Trey Crabill to forge ahead.
A balk with the bases loaded and a two-run double by Mike Newton highlighted the inning.
"I knew our lineup would get us back in the game," said Rae.
Calvert Hall took a 2-0 lead in the first, but ran itself out of the inning when a missed sign on a suicide squeeze resulted in two runners getting caught for a double play to end the inning.
St. Paul's (12-5, 4-1) erupted for six in the third against Hall starter Jon Kibler. Vic Meyer doubled in two runs for the Crusaders, and Sean Foley singled in two runs.