Mustangs' luck turns in title-game victory

The Baltimore Sun

It figured that Marriotts Ridge would win on a missed sign, the way its luck was going yesterday.

The host Mustangs scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out a 3-2 victory over Calvert of Prince Frederick to win the Class 2A South regional final.

Marriotts Ridge fell behind, 2-1, on some bad luck (Calvert scored on a pop-fly double and a bad-hop single), but that luck changed in the Mustangs' last at-bat.

Calvert left-hander Brandon Crigger had three-hit the Mustangs through six innings, but he was out of innings (state rule) and out of pitches (he threw 147).

Marriotts Ridge's Kevin Seker, who had two hits, led off the seventh with a single off reliever Josh Roberson and scored on an all-out effort from second on an infield hit to tie the game.

Steve Kahl took off for home with one out on a signaled suicide squeeze, but the batter, Nick Marinelli, missed the sign and hit the ball off the pitcher's glove on a full swing.

Game over.

"No, sir, I didn't know he [Kahl] was coming," Marinelli said. "I was already in the box and didn't get the sign and just tried to hit the ball hard."

Mustangs coach Paul Eckert said: "Sometimes, it's best not to know. If he swings and misses, you're not interviewing me right now. And a lot of people are questioning what we did, but it worked out."

Tim Blair got the win in relief of senior Stephen Blucher, who pitched five solid innings, giving up four hits and one earned run in his first outing of the season. Blucher blew his knee out in basketball.

It was the second straight regional title for the Mustangs, who won the 1A South crown last year with an 8-13 record and then lost in the state semifinals.

In its second varsity season, Marriotts Ridge (17-5) won the Howard County title and added the regional yesterday to earn a spot in Tuesday's 2A state semifinals at Arundel against the West champion.

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