Buoyed by a renewed team spirit, junior right-hander Jeremy Verhoef threw a two-hitter to lift No. 6 Chesapeake to a 4-2 victory over No. 13 North County yesterday in the wild Anne Arundel County League baseball race.
No. 9 Arundel (9-4) leads Anne Arundel with an 8-1 record after its 8-1 win over Annapolis yesterday, while six other county teams, including Chesapeake (7-4, 5-3) and North County (9-4, 5-4), are in the hunt for the two berths in the county championship game May 8.
Verhoef (3-2) threw 96 pitches with four strikeouts and three walks to end a personal losing streak of two games and also end his team's two-game losing skid.
The host Cougars were down to 12 players after losing two players - one because of disciplinary reasons and another quit the team, Chesapeake coach Jim Simms said.
"After practice yesterday, our team morale was just through the roof," Verhoef said. "I did good today, but I couldn't have done it without the eight guys behind me. Everyone came out today knowing we were going to win. We had a couple unfortunate incidents and lost players, but it made us stronger."
Simms plans to bring up junior varsity players this weekend.
"Right now we have the smallest varsity team we've ever had," Simms said. "But you could see today these kids have pulled together."
Using the bunt frequently throughout the contest, the Cougars manufactured three of their runs off losing pitcher Nick Benges.
Verhoef shut down the Knights through 6 2/3 innings before the visitors scored two runs on an error and an RBI single by Josh Pfisterer.
"We're just unfocused right now," Knights coach Wayne Feuerherd Jr. said. "They're just coming out and taking the field thinking that's going to be enough."