Rockville and Bowie couldn't get on track today against a pair of junk ball artists and were eliminated in the Maryland Class AA baseball state semifinals at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Tim Schaferman kept Rockville off balance with an assortment of slow off-speed pitches as Woodlawn of Baltimore County took an 8-2 victory in the first game of the doubleheader.
Jay Herbert limited power-hitting Bowie to a pair of singles in the first five innings and Thomas Stone cruised to a 7-2 decision in the second game.
Woodlawn (17-5) will face Thomas Stone (17-4) for the state title Saturday at McCurdy Field in Frederick.
Thomas Stone, which has relied heavily on a lot of singles and good base running to get this far, had little luck trying to pull the ball against fastballing Bowie righthander Joe Smith. Instead, the Cougars laced their first six hits to right and right-center field to gain their early lead.
With two outs in the first inning, Craig Kinsman singled, moved to third on another single by Jimmy Wilson and scored on a throwing error by third baseman Shawn Quinlan. Greg Williams tripled home a run in the second to make it 2-0.
Wilson led off the third with a double. Jimmy Talbert was safe on a fielder's choice as Wilson, who went three for four, advanced to third. Rod Thomas' sacrifice fly scored Wilson, who was safe when the ball was dropped by Bowie catcher Craig Mathews. Thomas Stone's lead swelled to 4-0 when Talbert trotted home after a ringing double by Allan Walters.
Bowie (17-4) scored twice in the fifth to cut Stone's lead to 4-2, one of the runs coming on Quinlan's homer against Herbert. But Thomas Stone bounced back to score three runs in the final inning.
Herbert allowed five hits, walked two and hit two batters before he was relieved with none out and a runner on in the seventh.
"My best pitch was my curve and I was trying to keep it on the outside of the plate," said Herbert (6-0).
Kinsman came on to get the final three outs. "I only had to throw strikes," Kinsman said. "I knew I had a good defense behind me and we had a five-run lead."
Rockville (16-3), a good fastball-hitting team, had all kinds of trouble in trying to gauge Schaferman's off-speed curves and fork balls. The Rams managed only five hits, one of them a two-run home run by Craig Fletcher in the fourth.
Rockville had the bases loaded with two out in the first but Schaferman got the final out on a ground out to third.
Gene Thomas opened the Rockville second by reaching second on a two-base throwing error. On an attempted sacrifice, Jimmy Trimble's bunt was plucked out of the air by Schaferman, who wheeled and fired to second for the double play. Mike Ricketts then doubled but was called out for missing first base.
Schaferman allowed only three hits the rest of the way. He struck out two, hit two batters but didn't walk anyone.
"We knew he threw a lot of junk and we worked on that the last couple of days," Rockville Coach Tom Manuel said. "But we are basically a fastball-hitting team and it's tough to get ready for that much junk in a couple of days."
"They heard I threw a lot of junk pitches and were sitting, waiting for the curve and fork ball," said Schaferman (8-1). "So I used my fastball as a change and got it by them. Plus, we had a good defense and hit the ball."
Woodlawn went quietly in the first inning. But the Warriors flexed their muscles in the next five innings, pounding out 11 hits and scoring all eight of their runs.
Woodlawn's Curt Mackinson had three hits in four at-bats, including a solo homer in the sixth. Tim Liberto also had two hits.
Class B: Mark Carper, Atholton's best pitcher, entered the Maryland state semifinal game against Pikesville at Catonsville Community College with a 10-0 record and an ERA of 0.60. But the Panthers hammered Carper for six runs en route to a convincing 9-3 victory and a berth in the Class B state championship next weekend.
Atholton had made it to the state semifinal on Carper's arm, but he was making his third start within a 10-day span.
Pikesville, which has averaged seven runs a game and given up an average of less than two, raised its record to 18-1.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth, Pikesville's Marc Rosenstein drew a walk from Carper and Janas Needleman reached first on a fielder's choice.
Ira Katz then broke the tie, lining a double to center field to drive in Rosenstein and Needleman for a 3-1 lead.
Katz, who finished with three RBI, later scored on a double by Robert Epstein.
Dave Kubilus later came on in relief of Carper but Pikesville kept the inning going. After the Panthers had scored seven runs to take an 8-1 lead, Katz, making his second plate appearance in the inning, drove in their final run on a sacrifice fly to deep left, bringing in Jon Koman from third.
Pikesville's Kenny Burkoman raised his record to 9-0 with an ERA of 1.20. Burkoman, who is headed to Clemson on a scholarship, yielded only one run through six innings before Atholton scored two runs in the top of the seventh.
"I kept the ball down in the good innings, and in the bad innings it was up," said Burkoman. "But the curve was working and I had good fielding behind me."