As he rounded the bases yesterday, Wootton junior Dennis Schoonmaker suppressed whatever urge he had to linger over his eighth-inning, game-ending home run in the Patriots' 8-6 victory over Quince Orchard.
Instead, Schoonmaker raced around the bases, wasting no time to join his Patriots teammates to celebrate their thrilling, come-from-behind win over the No. 6 Cougars in Rockville.
_____From The Post_____
Pitching depth lifts Frederick to the top.
Bowie stays in good shape despite Erin King's injury.
For Douglass, Erik Nurmi is a perfect surprise.
_____Games to Watch_____
No. 8 DeMatha at No. 2 Paul VI Catholic, Today, 6: The Panthers (17-1) are coming off first their first loss of the season, a 5-3 defeat against Good Counsel, and will be without one of their best players, Alex Gregory (back sprain). Three-time WCAC champion DeMatha, meantime, has won two in a row.
Bowie at Eleanor Roosevelt, Thursday, 4: The undefeated Raiders host the Maryland 4A defending champion in a meeting of the top two Prince George's 4A teams. The winner will be the favorite in the Maryland 4A South Region.
No. 7 Westfield at Herndon, Friday, 6:30: Westfield (9-2, 1-1 AAA Concorde District) will be looking to bounce back from losses to Oakton and St. John's last week. Herndon (7-1, 1-1) is also coming off its first defeat against Oakton. The game is a rematch of last year's Concorde District tournament final, which Westfield won, 10-4, in eight innings.
Long Reach at No. 7 Centennial, Tomorrow, 4: Howard County's remaining undefeated teams -- both are 8-0 -- battle for sole possession of first place in the county. Long Reach junior right-hander Amy Guyton has started every game, while Centennial has alternated between freshman Kate Hobson and sophomore Alona Lawson.
Sherwood at No. 8 Damascus, Thursday, 3:30: This Montgomery 4A East battle pits the only remaining undefeated teams in the county -- the Warriors and Swarmin' Hornets are both 7-0.
Hylton at Gar-Field, Tomorrow, 4: Gar-Field (10-2) had won five consecutive Cardinal District titles before Hylton (6-3) snagged the past two. Hylton swept the Indians in three games last year.
No. 6 Oakton at Madison, Tomorrow, 6:30: Rematch of last year's Northern Region final, won by Madison, 2-0. The week doesn't get any easier for the Warhawks (9-2), who will host Langley -- 4-0 winners over Madison last month -- on Friday.
"The adrenaline is really pumping," Schoonmaker said moments after his blast, on a 1-0 curveball, sailed over the left field wall. "It's an amazing feeling. I've never had a hit like that in a game like this."
Down 6-1 and seemingly out of the game, the Patriots rallied with a four-run sixth inning, tied the game on a seventh-inning home run by Peter Barrett and completed the win with Schoonmaker's homer.
Against one of the area's top teams, the Patriots (9-1) won for the eighth time in a row and solidified their standing as one of Montgomery County's top teams.
"It's not over -- we've got some big games coming up this week," Barrett said in reference to upcoming games against Gaithersburg and Whitman, two other county stalwarts. "We need to win those, and if we can, I think we can really be in good shape."
Barrett was the major catalyst for the Patriots, finishing 4 for 4 with a double and the game-tying solo home run, which came on the first pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning. In 10 games, Barrett is 15 for 31 at the plate, with 5 doubles, 3 home runs and 10 runs batted in.
Before Barrett's big hit, walks, not home runs, were the key. The patient Wootton hitters drew three bases on balls -- including two with the bases loaded -- during the four-run sixth inning.
"You have to keep your head up the whole game," said Schoonmaker, who had one of the run-scoring walks. "Otherwise you're never going to win."
Quince Orchard (7-2) took advantage of five Wootton errors to build the big lead. The Cougars were trailing 1-0 in the fourth when first baseman Mike Celenza led off the inning with a home run to center field. The Cougars' lead grew to 5-1 when Matt O'Keefe hit a three-run triple to center field and scored one batter later on a sacrifice fly.