C. Milton Wright and Harford Tech nearly brought home two state baseball championships for Harford County last weekend, but both suffered heartbreaking losses.
The Mustangs held a one-run lead in the seventh inning but couldn't hang on and suffered a 7-6 loss to Sherwood from Montgomery County in eight innings in the Class 4A state title game.
Harford Tech's loss in the Class 1A title game to St. Michael's might have been more painful. The Cobras were just one out away from the championship but couldn't finish the job, and St. Michael's scored two runs to pull out a 4-3 victory.
The Mustangs fell in the finals for the third time in the past five years.
"It was a tough loss," C.M. Wright coach Joe Stetka said. "I just felt bad for all of the seniors because they worked hard all year long."
The Mustangs took a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh on starting pitcher Mike Rappazzo's RBI double. But Sherwood tied it on a Chris Green single in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
The game would have been over then if catcher Woody Wodlarczyk hadn't made a great play to block the plate and tag a runner out on a relay throw moments before.
Green then won it on a one-out, bases-loaded single in the eighth.
It put a bitter ending to what had been a sweet season. C.M. Wright won the Chesapeake Division in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference in the regular season, and then won the UCBAC championship game.
This was Stetka's first year as head coach. He said he was proud of how his team played en route to a 19-5 record and the trip to the state finals.
"They were a great group of kids," he said. "They came ready to play every day."
So did Harford Tech. Bill Jones, who stepped in as head coach this season, guided the Cobras to the state finals after they made the semifinals last year.
They finished with a 15-8 record, and starting pitcher Chris Peacher went the distance in the title game. But it wasn't enough.
The Cobras took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh. A throwing error gave St. Michael's a runner on second with one out before Peacher got a strikeout that put Harford Tech one out away from a title.
The Saints tied the game on an RBI single to center, and Peacher hit the next batter to put runners on first and second. He then loaded the bases with an intentional walk before Kevin Gowe's infield single gave St. Michael's the victory.
*Track and field: Amanda Deller of Aberdeen was the only Harford County athlete to win an event at last weekend's state track and field meet at Morgan State. She turned in spectacular performances to win the Class 3A shot put and discus. Her throw of 41 feet, 0.5 inches tied a class record for the state meet. Deller won the discus with an effort of 119-10, easily beating the competition. She helped Aberdeen score 22 points to finish 10th in Class 3A - the best placing by any Harford County school at the meet. That capped a strong season for the Eagles, who edged out C.M. Wright by one point to win the UCBAC championship meet a few weeks ago.
*More track and field: Only one other Harford athlete finished as high as second place. Harford Tech's Dana Smothers took second in the 400 meters in Class 1A. Matt Cross of Bel Air, known for his success in wrestling, showed he can do just as well in the pole vault, taking third place in Class 3A. C.M. Wright's Sara Bailey, who's been one of the area's top distance runners, took fourth in the 3,200 in Class 4A, and sixth in the 1,600.