Churchill and Randallstown took early leads and went on to win Maryland State AA semifinal baseball games yesterday at the University of Maryland's Shipley Field.
Brian Bark allowed nine singles as Randallstown eliminated Parkdale, 6-1, in the second game of the doubleheader.
Churchill reliever Denny Levin retired the only two batters he faced in the last inning to save a 6-5 decision over Old Mill in the first game.
The Bulldogs jumped on Old Mill starter Denny Wiseman (11-2) early, scoring three runs in the first inning and another in the second to take a 4-0 lead.
Todd Emde's double in the alley in left-center field brought home the three runs in the first.
Old Mill, the Anne Arundel County champion, benefited from two walks by Churchill's Scott Sorkin and scored twice in the third.
In the sixth, Gary Helmick drew a walk from Sorkin and advanced to third when center fielder John Beck dropped a two-out fly. Helmick scored when Bulldogs catcher Bob Beatrice, on an attempted pickoff play at second, threw the ball into center field.
Churchill scored twice in the seventh, giving Sorkin a 6-3 lead. It almost wasn't enough.
Sorkin gave up two singles and two walks, the second pass to Helmick with the bases loaded to cut the Churchill lead to 6-4 with one out. Levin then relieved Sorkin.
Wiseman's long, high fly ball chased John Polis to the fence in left. Polis made the catch but Tony Masteran scored to make it 6-5.
"I thought it was gone at first," said Levin, who is 4-0 and now has one save. "But if it was close, Polis would have climbed the fence to get it."
David Harding grounded out to end the game.
Prince George's County representative Parkdale, having fallen behind early, failed to take advantage of opportunities to catch up.
Parkdale ace Bobby Pearson, who threw 80 and 81 pitches, respectively, in beating Bowie and Duval on successive days earlier this week, struggled yesterday. In only one inning -- the fifth -- did the Rams fail to reach base. But by that time, Randallstown had gotten to Pearson (10-1) for three hits and three runs.
Fatigue finally got to Pearson (118 pitches yesterday) in the sixth. He walked Darren Davis to open the inning. Steve Sampson, Jeff Webster and Drew Dobry singled in succession for a run and Ray Furmage relieved Pearson with the bases full and none out.
Sampson scored on a sacrifice fly as the Rams increased their lead to 5-0.
Bark (9-1) had allowed one base runner past second base in the first six innings while striking out six. Maryland Class A
Todd Snell drove in three runs with a triple and single, and right-hander Chris Webb pitched a complete game as Gwynn Park defeated Northwood, 7-2, in the semifinals at Essex Community College in Baltimore.
Gwynn Park (17-3) will play Franklin -- an 8-7 victor over Frederick -- in the championship Saturday at College Park.
Northwood High School, which will close its operations this spring, competed in its final sporting event. The Indians baseball team finished at 9-10.
Webb, who mixed a slow, sidearm curve and an occasional fast ball, kept the Indians (9-10) off-balance the entire game. He had trouble in the third inning when Northwood tied at 2-2, but one of the runs was unearned.
Gwynn Park scored two runs in the first off Joe Talbot. After Larry Estep reached on a fielder's choice and stole second, Snell lined a single to bring home Estep. Rodd Snell flied to left for the second out, but B.K. Fleet hit a triple just out of the reach of center fielder Phil Ferguson.
Northwood tied in the top of the third. Talbot led off with a single, stole second, then went to third on Ferguson's infield hit. Andy Farley's squeeze bunt scored Talbot and Estep's error at third base on a grounder by Jay Smith allowed Ferguson to score.
In its half of the third, Gwynn Park scored two runs as Estep made up for his error. Tim Holland led off with a single and Estep lined a fly ball over Farley in left field to score Holland. Estep advanced to third on Todd Snell's ground out to first base, then came home on Rodd Snell's sacrifice fly.
Gwynn Park extended its lead in the fifth inning with three runs off Ferguson, who relieved Talbot.