There was a lot of red in the stands at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen last night to watch Patapsco in its first appearance in a state baseball final, but the Patriots' fans were left to watch a bitter loss.
Senior right-hander Mike Boyden struck out 14 and allowed just four hits as La Plata of Charles County won the Class 3A state championship, 8-2, over Patapsco.
Facing Boyden's excellent pitching, Patapsco did not help itself by committing six errors.
Down 5-0, Patapsco got to Boyden in the bottom of the sixth for two runs on Vinnie Tiburzi's fielder's choice and a single by Rob Wilson, but Boyden weathered the situation by recording his 10th and 11th strikeouts to end the inning.
The Warriors tacked on three more runs in the seventh on two Patriots errors to put the game out of reach.
"We knew coming in we had to play defense because they can hit," said Boyden, who is bound for George Washington University. "Every game we come out with pitching and defense, and tonight we hit the ball pretty well. It was one of my best games of the year."
No Baltimore-area team has won a state public school championship since 1982.
It was the first state championship for the Warriors (20-2). La Plata lost in the 2002 final. Patapsco (19-3) was playing in its second final four.
Boyden (5-1) struck out 11, walked three and did not allow a hit through 3 2/3 innings. His teammates gave him an early 2-0 lead, and Seth Donnelly's two-run homer in the fourth off Patriots starter and loser Ron Bolyard (7-2) made it 4-0. The Warriors added a run in the sixth on a two-out triple by Jordan McGraner that scored Russ Hunsberger.
Neither team scored in the first, but the Warriors broke the ice in the second with two runs on one hit. Cleanup batter John Pellecchia led off with a walk, and Boyden followed with a double to deep left to score Pellecchia. Three Patriots errors led to the second run and a 2-0 La Plata lead.
The inning seemed to give Boyden and the Warriors momentum. Boyden struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the inning, walked a batter and struck out the next. Tiburzi broke up Boyden's no-hit bid with a single.
La Plata added two more runs in the fourth on a booming two-run homer to left by Donnelly. The No. 8 hitter in the batting order, Donnelly hit the ball about 350 feet over the fence.