FREDERICK, MD., JUNE 6 -- Steve Keppler singled just inside third base to score Bobby Smyles and give Arundel a thrilling, 1-0 victory over Oxon Hill in the Maryland State AA baseball championship game tonight at McCurdy Field.

The hit decided a marvelous pitching duel between Arundel left-hander Kyle Coffman and Butch Jones.

"I was hoping I would be the one to get the chance to win the game for us," Keppler said. "It was just a matter of time. We weren't hitting the ball real solid. I hit the pitch pretty hard and it skipped past him {Ruben Sanchez} and it went through."

Held to five hits, Arundel (21-3) finally got the break it was seeking when Smyles singled with one out in the sixth inning. He stole second base and continued to third when catcher Chris Payne's throw went wide and into center field.

Pat True struck out but Keppler hit one of Jones' fastballs a foot inside third base, past Sanchez's outstretched glove. Smyles easily scored.

Coffman (11-1), who handcuffed Laurel with three hits in his team's 8-1 state semifinal victory, was just as effective against the Clippers (16-5). He allowed only three singles, walked one and struck out 11. He faced 25 batters, four above the minimum, and only two runners reached second base.

The Clippers' last threat came in the seventh when Payne singled with one out. Coffman struck out Scott Deters and Todd Mizukawa to give Arundel its fourth state title in 13 years.

Oxon Hill Coach Donny Keys was proud of his team but was a bit upset over an incident in the top half of the sixth inning.

Kevin Webb had drawn the only walk off Coffman to begin the inning. Leadoff batter Jon Capps came to bat and Keppler told the umpire Capps' bat was improper. National Federation rules call for a circular mark 18 inches from the knob. Capps' bat had no mark. After a discussion with the coaches and the umpires and Maryland baseball chairman Earl Hersh, Capps was ruled out.

"I know there has to be mark and his had none," Keys said. "That's the rule. We had new bats and this one didn't have a mark."

Coffman got the next two batters to end the inning. Keys said the incident didn't destroy any confidence his team had left. "We just couldn't get the hits," he said. "His curve was dropping two feet and the guys couldn't do anything."

Coffman, who at one point this season had gone 28 innings without giving up a run, said Oxon Hill's hitters were mostly pull hitters and he tried to keep them off balance by mixing his pitches.

"It was probably the best stuff I've had this year," he said. "I really had good stuff working for me. I'd knew we'd win this one somehow."

Arundel had more chances but each time Jones worked his way out of trouble. The Wildcats had runners at first and third with two out but Alex Bryant flied out. Another runner was wiped out on a double play and another was stranded at third. Jones retired nine consecutive batters before Smyles singled in the sixth inning.