County title a first for Marriotts Ridge

The Baltimore Sun

The Marriotts Ridge baseball team was savoring a team dinner last Wednesday night, capping a day the Mustangs will never forget.

That afterrnoon, they had visited perennial power Centennial and come away with a 5-2 victory that gave the three-year-old school its first county team title in any sport. A first-of-its-kind banner now hangs on the school's gym wall, but the trophy had everybody's immediate attention that night.

"They were really focused on that trophy. They all went to dinner with parents and it was kind of like having the Stanley Cup around. Everybody was passing it around, so they could have a good look at it. They really enjoyed the celebration," coach Paul Eckert said.

The Mustangs got a two-hitter from junior pitcher Tim Blair and a two-run single from left fielder Stephen Kahl in a four-run third inning that proved pivotal.

The team was well aware of its history-making accomplishment.

"The boys were very excited about that, and I told them they should be. Nobody else can ever say they were the first. This group can say that, and when they go to their reunion in 10 or 20 years, they can remember that as a day they will never forget," Eckert said.

Next up for the Mustangs (14-5) is the Class 2A South regional playoffs, as they look to reach the state tournament for a second straight year. Last year, in their first season of varsity play, the Mustangs won the Class 1A South regional title.

The Mustangs have a mix of experienced seniors and talented underclassmen.

Shortstop-center fielder Kevin Seker (.340, team-high 17 RBIs) and catcher Kyle Feldman are two standouts among the nine seniors on the roster. A talented sophomore trio of second baseman Nick Marinelli, shortstop-third baseman Kevin Kratochwill and first baseman-outfielder Mitchell Smith also make strong contributions.

Quick hits

*Track and field : Joey Thompson of Howard and Atholton's Graham Bazell did battle once again in last week's Howard County championship meet at Long Reach. Bazell scored an impressive victory in the 3,200 meters, winning in 9 minutes, 32.23 seconds, easily beating Thompson by over 13 seconds. But Thompson got his revenge in the 1,600, where Bazell led for most of the race. Thompson didn't wait for the start of the final lap to make his move. Instead, he took off with about 50 meters left in the next-to-last lap. He moved right past Bazell and just pulled away on the final lap to win in 4:18.86. Bazell took second in 4:22.79. In the field events, Shianna Smith of Wilde Lake scored a narrow victory in the shot put (32 feet, 11 inches) but did much better in the discus. Smith's throw of 106- 10 gave her a huge victory over runner-up Rochelle Wade (86-0). Funmi Alabi of Long Reach won the 100 (12.09) and 200 (25.72) for the girls. Jackson Jordan helped the Mount Hebron boys win the team title with victories in the 110-meter hurdles (15.09) and 300 hurdles (40.14). Nate Gant also won twice for Hammond, taking the 100 (11.23) and long jump (21-0.5). The biggest performance came from Anna Demaree, who won three individual events and ran on a victorious relay team for River Hill to help the Hawks win it all this spring. "They really [rebounded] from 11th last year," River Hill coach Earl Lauer said. "They were great in this meet."

Jeff Seidel contributed to this article.

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