Composure is an asset for a high school pitcher, and Andrew Germuth of Archbishop Spalding has it.
Germuth showed that in toughing out a 10-8 victory over No. 2 Calvert Hall in Towson yesterday that tightened the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference baseball race.
No. 9 Spalding (15-6, 10-3) moved within a game of first-place Calvert Hall (15-6, 11-0) by breaking the Cardinals' 11-game winning streak.
Germuth and crew nearly blew a 10-1 lead, though. But in the end, the confidence and composure of the Cavaliers ace was the difference.
Cruising along on a two-hitter through five innings, Germuth was given quite a cushion when his teammates scored four runs in the top of the sixth for a 10-1 lead. Back-to-back homers by Drew Poiter and catcher Justin Perry in the sixth appeared to have put the Cardinals away.
After getting Jeremy Jakubowski to line to short, Germuth was ripped for six straight hits and six runs. A two-run double by Gavin Swanson, a run-scoring single by Pat Nolan and a three-run homer by Steve Morton - suddenly, it was a 10-7 ballgame.
But Germuth calmly retired the next two batters and showed no signs of a pitcher who had just been rocked.
"Sometimes when you go through the order a couple times, they start to get used to the way you're throwing," said Germuth, who struck out seven and did not walk a batter on 100 pitches to improve to 7-1. "They got some good wood on the ball. With the big lead, we might have [relaxed] a little bit. But I thought I could get it done. I regained my confidence after getting the last two outs in the sixth on two pitches."
Cardinals reliever Mike Stangroom retired the Cavaliers in order with two strikeouts in the top of the seventh, and things got shaky again for Germuth in the bottom half.
Jakubowski reached on an error, but was forced at second on Mike Newton's grounder. Scott Krieger singled, and up came Swanson, who is tied for the metro area lead in homers (six), representing the tying run.
Still, Germuth didn't change expressions, showing the same cold stare he displayed while ahead by 10-1. Swanson hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Newton, making the score 10-8.
"I was trying to drive one and got a two-seamer outside, but I just got under it," said Swanson. "He's been a good pitcher the last couple years. He's always around the plate enough where, if you get something going, you can explode. With the hitters we have, no lead on us is out of reach."
Germuth got Nolan to bounce out to first base on a 3-2 pitch to seal Spalding's victory.