Hereford’s Jake Baldwin got a nifty pass at the crease for his 18th birthday at Towson on Wednesday.
It came from Jack Callis in the opening minute of the second overtime and the senior midfielder did the rest, one-timing a shot that trickled in to give the Bulls a resourceful 8-7 win over the Generals in Baltimore County boys lacrosse.
Baldwin, who also tied the game with 40 seconds left in regulation, celebrated his big day with a four-goal performance in a complete team win for the Bulls (7-3, 6-0 Baltimore County). Hereford also got 10 saves from senior goalie Nick Balducci.
Towson (6-3, 4-1) got three goals and an assist from senior Leighton Bechdel.
Starting the second overtime with an extra man, the Bulls patiently worked the ball around and sent cutters to the crease. Just as the Generals penalty expired, Callis, stationed behind the cage, found Baldwin in stride.
“Jack had a nice carry, saw me on the look back and I luckily tapped it in,” Baldwin said. “It was a really bad quick stick, but trickled in. I never really caught it, I just kind of batted it in, so lucky that it trickled in. It was a heck of a team win, really happy about it.”
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Tightly contested throughout, the host Generals took the game’s only two-goal lead when Bechdel made it 4-2 in the opening minute of the third quarter. With Towson faceoff man Mitch Boudreau consistently getting the Generals the ball, the home team had chances to pull away, but Balducci made his biggest mark with four straight saves to keep the score at 4-2.
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A three-goal spurt in just over a minute of playing time followed for the Bulls, who got goals from Shaun Gillespie, Baldwin and Jake Furman (two goals) with their faceoff man Connor Dunay winning two straight draws for a 5-4 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
The team exchanged goals throughout the fourth quarter, the Generals going on to take a 7-6 lead with 1:48 left when Rory Bateman (two goals, one assist) went low to the far side to get a shot past Balducci.
Baldwin proved clutch twice with the tying and winning goals.
The Bulls have a young team after graduating a number of key seniors from last year’s Class 2A state runner-up and they had a run of injuries and illnesses at the start of the season. When standout defenseman Sam Furman had to leave the game with an injury, Gavin Walter was ready to provide important minutes. It’s an example of how the team has been able to stick together and gain valuable experience.
“We knew we had our work cut out for us – they’re a senior heavy team and we’re not,” said Hereford coach Sal Picataggi. “I don’t know if I’ve been prouder of my team. This is a young team and we’ve been battling injuries, we’ve been battling illness since March 1 and we’re finally coming together and this is the result. I’m thrilled.”