Cardinals make it 33-0, win 'A' championship

The Baltimore Sun

The perfect season -- one like no other in Maryland high school baseball history -- is complete.

No. 1 Calvert Hall completed an unbeaten season, believed to be the first in the storied program's history, by beating Mount St. Joseph, 4-0, last night at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen to finish 33-0 and 75-0 as a program.

The victory gave the varsity its third consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title and its 15th since 1976, including the old Maryland Scholastic Association that became the MIAA.

The Cardinals' junior varsity went 26-0, winning the A Conference title, and the freshman-sophomore team was 16-0, capturing the B Conference championship.

"I really thought about it a lot coming into this game today and I feel really blessed and a little humble," said Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl. "To think how big of an accomplishment this was. One game could have taken it all away."

Eckerl said he checked with Cardinals old-timers and former coach Joe "Snooky" Binder, whom Eckerl succeeded, and nobody remembers an undefeated Cardinals team despite all the championships.

Mount St. Joseph (17-15) lost to the Cardinals, 12-2, in the final in 2005, the year Calvert Hall finished 31-1, winning 31 in a row. That record was broken this season, but the Gaels tried to be that "one game" last night.

Danny Druzgala mixed his pitches well and shut out the Cardinals through four innings before Jeff Guthridge's single broke the ice in the bottom of the fifth, making it 1-0.

Calvert Hall chased Druzgala the next inning, scoring three runs to make a winner out of junior right-hander Michael Dillon (9-0) who threw a three-hitter with five strikeouts and four walks on 99 pitches.

Senior catcher John Collingsworth started the clinching rally with a homer over the left-field fence with one out, and Reid Chenworth doubled in a run.

"Brooks [Kerr, third base coach] gave me a take sign and I missed it," Collingsworth said. "I can't say what he said when I was coming around third. We weren't the strongest team, but we were the best team every day for 33 games. It's amazing to go 33-0, amazing."

As for Dillon's strong effort, Collingsworth said: "Michael mixed fastballs and changeups really well and kept them off balance."

Speaking for the seniors, Chenworth, who is headed to Maryland, said: "This team fought to the end, every game. We never gave up and have a lot to be proud of."

B Conference

St. Mary's 8, No. 15 Boys' Latin 7 --The Saints (18-5) took an early 6-0 lead, and when the Lakers (20-3) came back on them with five runs in the third inning, Korbin Sargent came to the rescue and quelled the Lakers' bats. It was the Saints' first B Conference title since 2004; Boys' Latin was playing in its first final.

"You have to tip to St. Mary's," said Boys' Latin coach and former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick. "They beat us twice, came in our yard and beat us, [8-5]. They answered every challenge today and deserved the championship."

St. Mary's scored three runs each in the first and third innings, with starting pitcher Austin Poretz driving in three of the runs with a triple and a single. The Lakers scored five times in the third, highlighted by two-run singles from Matt Wareheim and Devon Jerrard.

A two-run single by Steven Knopf in the top of the fifth pushed the Saints' lead to 8-5, but the home team answered in the bottom half on Huntley Mitchell's two-run single. Sargent entered for Poretz and got three outs to escape further damage.

"Sargent was great, got us out of that bases-loaded jam and shut them out the last two innings and we didn't make any errors," Saints coach Dave Lanham said.

Sargent said he was thrilled to get the opportunity to come in, and "this was huge and we had the confidence to get it done."

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