Tough Loss for Arundel Baseball in Title Game
The Wildcats were one out away from victory on two occasions, but lost the state title game 7-6 to Northwest in 12 innings.
COLLEGE PARK - First, Arundel High had it won.
Then Northwest High had it won.
Then the two teams kept playing.
And playing, until Northwest grabbed the Class 4A state baseball title with a thrilling 7-6 win in 12 innings.
Northwest's J.J. Jan hit a single to left field in the 12th, scoring Michael Coates with the winning run as the team overcame a 5-1 deficit.
Played before a spirited crowd at Shipley Field at the University of Maryland, the game featured a series of improbable sequences, including two instances in which Northwest tied the game just one out away from being defeated.
Arundel appeared to have won the game in the 7th inning when pitcher Dalton Durocher struck out Northwest's Steve D'Amato swinging. It would have been the final out, giving Arundel a 5-2 win and the state title. But the ball got by catcher Kyle Brandt, and D'Amato beat out the throw to first.
Northwest followed with two more hits and three walks in the 7th inning to tie the game.
With the winning run on third and Max Banks at the place, a pitch once again got by Brandt and a runner came home to score.
But this time, it was Northwest that celebrated prematurely.
The benches erupted as it appeared that Northwest had won the game, but Banks failed to run to first and was thrown out.
Arundel went back on top 6-5 in the 10th, when designated hitter Ethan Plummer cranked a two-out double to plate Steven Ghiardi.
Northwest responded in the bottom of the frame by getting runners on first and third with one out. But Banks was caught dancing off of third base and pitcher Cooper Hibbs tagged him out in a rundown. Again, Arundel found itself one out away from a state championship.
But Northwest's Nick Siegel came through with a two-out RBI single to tie the game at 6-6.
It would remain that way until Jan's winning hit in the 12th.
For most of the game, it was Arundel that took advantage of scoring chances while Northwest left runners stranded.
The Jaguars walked three times in the second inning but were unable to get a run across, and had men on in the 4th and 5th innings.
Meanwhile, Arundel took advantage of its opportunities. When Matt Shin led off the game with a single, Keith Grassel drove him in two batters later. And when Grassel doubled in the first and third innings, Durocher immediately followed with RBI hits in both cases.
But in the end, it was Northwest that came through, denying Arundel its 11th state championship in school history.
The loss overshadowed a great performance by Arundel's Durocher, who pitched 5 and 2/3 innings and gave up three hits before being relieved by Steve Ghiardi with two outs in the 7th.
For a detailed play-by-play of the game, check out the live blog.