Ninth-ranked Wootton, the Cinderella team of the Maryland 4A high school baseball tournament, put a remarkable finish on its remarkable run last night. Junior Steve Tvardek lined a two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning to lift the Patriots over defending champion Arundel, 2-1, in the championship game before a crowd of 1,300 at Cannon Stadium in Harmans.

Right-handed sophomore Joey Popovich struck out nine and allowed only one hit as Wootton (15-3) won its 14th straight game to capture the state title for the first time in school history. The Patriots defeated Perry Hall, before last night the only team other than Arundel to win the Class 4A title this decade, in the semifinals.

Wootton's lone previous journey to the state tournament ended with a loss to Catonsville in the 1976 championship game.

"I feel bad for all of the players of the past," said Wootton Coach Ross Rhett, who was at Wootton when it opened in 1970, left to coach Frederick Community College from 1978-86 and then returned to Wootton. "Maybe this will ease their frustrations. We have had a lot of good teams that did not get here."

No. 2 Arundel (23-3), one of the state's baseball powerhouses, was denied in its bid for a record eighth state title.

The only hit Popovich (8-1) allowed was a second-inning solo home run to Steve Brunner. For much of the game, it looked as if that one mistake might be enough for the Wildcats.

"I did not want to worry, but I was," Popovich said. "Especially after giving up that bomb. {But} I taught myself to stick in there."

Wootton caught a big break in the sixth when leadoff batter Brian Link reached safely when he swung at a third strike in the dirt and the ball got away from catcher Bernie McQuarrie.

Arundel pitcher Kurt Light (seven strikeouts, four hits) struck out Rich Sweigard and Jim Johnson, but walks to Adam Steinfeld and Popovich loaded the bases for Tvardek.

After getting ahead in the count 2-1, the left-handed batter lined Light's next pitch to the opposite field. The ball just cleared the outstretched glove of shortstop Steve Sylvester to score Link and Steinfeld with the tying and go-ahead runs.

"He had to come to me there," said Tvardek, who drove in two runs in the 8-5 win over Perry Hall on Tuesday. "I was looking for a fastball over the plate. It was actually outside, but I went with it." CAPTION: Quite a Run Kevin Prenoveau celebrates Wootton's 14th straight win, 2-1 over Arundel for the Maryland 4A baseball championship. CAPTION: Steve Sylvester and defending champion Arundel teammates manage only one hit and fail in their efforts to win a record eighth state title.