Arundel's Cinderella baseball season ended abruptly Saturday when the Wildcats were upset by Woodlawn of Baltimore County, 3-2, in a Maryland Class AA Region IV playoff game.
The loss was the first of the season for Arundel, which had been the nation's fourth-ranked high school team, according to USA Today.
"It was an incredible game," said Arundel Coach Bernie Walter. "We hit line drives at people, and the kid who beat us, that was the first home run of his career.
"Sometimes those things happen, but I still think that we're the best team in the state," Walter said. "I'm just sorry that we let the state down by losing. A lot of people were counting on us because we were demonstrating to those outside the state that Maryland baseball is as good as any high school baseball in the country.
"These things happen in a single-elimination playoff though. It is a real shame because this was probably the best team I ever had."
Arundel registered a 20-0 regular-season record behind the pitching of Denny Naegle, Bryan Beauchemin and Greg Scott.
Naegle (9-0) is a left-hander headed to the University of Minnesota on a baseball scholarship. He struck out 101 in 66 1/3 innings and his ERA was 0.95. Naegle threw a no-hitter against Westminster earlier this year and also has a one-hitter to his credit.
Beauchemin (6-0) is a right-hander who's never lost a varsity game. He struck out 54 in 34 2/3 innings and had a 1.61 ERA. Scott was 5-0 with 42 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings and had a 3.21 ERA. Earlier this season against Meade, he struck out 17.
Steve Keppler was the catcher with a .368 batting average and a strong arm that stopped many would-be stealers. Walters calls him the best athlete he's ever had at catcher.
Either Naegle or Scott played first base. Naegle batted .452 with 26 runs batted in. Scott .426 with 20 RBI.
Cap Post played second base. He hit .309 with 22 RBI. Beauchemin played shortstop when not pitching. A .420 batter, he was spelled by sophomore Pat True, the starting third baseman. (True hit .433 with 21 RBI.) Rob Dunbar, whom Walters called the fifth best infielder in Anne Arundel County, started at third only when Beauchemin pitched.
Pat Overton, a .311 batter with 23 RBI, started in left field. Darryl Hardy was the center fielder. A .500 hitter, he batted ninth. And Chris Ross, the team's leadoff batter with a .355 average, played right field.
Walter, who began his baseball coaching career with the University of Maryland freshman team in 1964, said "This is as good a physical team as I've ever had, but attitude often means the difference. And you need a lot of luck to win it all, even if you have the best team."
Luck ran out on Arundel Saturday.