It was supposed to be the season's first big showdown in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference - and in the metro area, for that matter.
But, as Mount St. Joseph coach Dave Norton said, "We got whupped."
Top-ranked Calvert Hall hammered the host No. 4 Gaels, 14-3, in a game shortened to five innings because of the 10-run rule.
The Cardinals (6-3) unleashed a 15-hit attack, with every player in the starting lineup getting at least one hit to give winning pitcher Mike Dillon (four-hitter, seven strikeouts, no walks on 87 pitches) more than enough support.
Returning Sun Player of the Year Kevin Lingerman had three hits, including a pair of doubles with four RBIs. Four other Cardinals had at least two hits, including last year's All-Metro shortstop, Patrick Blair, who started things with a two-run homer in the first.
Joe Robak homered leading off a five-run fifth, the Cards' second five-run inning of the game. The other big inning came in the second when the winners chased Gaels ace Ryan Kemp after he gave up seven runs on nine hits.
"Kemp is a great pitcher, but he didn't have his stuff today, and we exploited that and just started stroking," Blair said.
It was defending A Conference champion Calvert Hall's third straight win after returning home from Anaheim, Calif., where it went 1-3 in the National Baseball Classic. The tournament included many of the nation's top teams.
"They came back ready to tear the cover off the ball after seeing some great pitching out there," said Norton, whose Gaels slipped to 6-3. "Our pitching, compared to California pitching, they probably said, 'Oh my goodness, batting practice.' "
The West Coast trip resulted in the Cardinals changing their batting practice. "We met some guys throwing in the 90s, and we weren't ready for it," Cardinals coach Lou Eckerl said. "So, we've been working extra hard in batting practice hitting good hard pitching. We were a little behind."