This one was for the coach.
That is what members of the Glen Burnie baseball team were echoing after they defeated Perry Hall of Baltimore County, 3-1, to capture their first Maryland Class 4A championship yesterday at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.
"To win this for Coach [Bruce] Sider means so much to me," Glen Burnie pitcher Tim Hecker said. "He deserves it."
Bruce Sider, the Gophers' coach of 19 years, had never directed the Anne Arundel County school past the state semifinals until this spring. He also guided Glen Burnie (18-7) to a school-record 18 victories. Previously, Glen Burnie had never won more than 13 games in a season. Sider said his nerves have been on edge the past few weeks. When asked how he would celebrate, Sider thought for a moment and said: "I'm going to go to Disney World."
Catcher Matt Smith had two doubles, scored twice and laid down a sacrifice bunt that helped Glen Burnie score a sixth-inning insurance run. He said that the team wanted badly to win this one for Sider.
"He's just been great with us," Smith said. "He's like a second father to us . . . we love him."
Hecker, a 5-foot-9 senior right-hander who raised his record to 11-1, scattered seven hits and struck out six. In Tuesday's 6-0 victory over Eleanor Roosevelt in the state semifinal, Hecker had 10 strikeouts and yielded three hits.
Keith Williams gave Glen Burnie a 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the second. Perry Hall (12-12) tied the score in the top of the fourth. But the Gophers broke the tie in the bottom half when Smith scored on Andy Bonn's squeeze bunt. Williams's RBI single made it 3-1 in the sixth and set up a huge celebration at game's end.
GLENELG 12, WILLIAMSPORT 2: In the Class 1A championship at Joe Cannon Stadium, the Gladiators captured their second straight state title by scoring 11 runs in the final three innings against the Washington County school.
Jeff Starcher pitched a complete-game six-hitter for Glenelg (21-4) which has won four state championships in seven years. Glenelg won titles in 1993, 1995 and 1998.
The Gladiators had managed only three hits off Williamsport starter Matt Bowman through the first three innings. But the Howard County school regrouped in the final three innings collecting 10 hits off Bowman and two relievers.
"I just told our guys to be patient," Glenelg Coach Tom Thrasher said. "[During] the third time through, they got focused and they were hitting."
The top five hitters in Glenelg's lineup combined for 10 of the its 13 hits. Leadoff hitter Brandon Robertson went 2 for 5 and Starcher (2 for 3), Jason Weszka (1 for 3, three RBI), Matt Thrasher (2 for 4, two RBI) and Jon Hughes (3 for 3, two RBI) collected the other hits.
SOUTH CARROLL 8, LEONARDTOWN 1: The Carroll County school used the same superb pitching and power hitting that carried it all season to capture its first Class 3A championship.
South Carroll, which last made it to the championship in 1996, ended its season on a nine-game winning streak.
"This is the first championship for me of any kind, as a player or coach," said Cavalier second-year coach George Richardson. "And it's unbelievable."
Leonardtown of St. Mary's County finished 14-11.
Richardson can thank senior right-hander Brandon Woodward for making it so convincing. Although Woodward walked six -- three straight in the second inning -- Woodward (8-1 this season, 12-2 career) also struck out 14 and yielded two hits in the complete game win.
South Carroll did the majority of its damage in the first with Leonardtown junior Mike Shutty on the mound. Shutty was tagged by senior center fielder Kevin Damiano for a two-run home run and later yielded singles to third basemen Ben Carr and left fielder Eric Laverick. Carr and Laverick both scored on an error by Leonardtown second baseman Scott Raley for an early 4-0 lead.
WALKERSVILLE 9, CENTENNIAL 5: There is really no way of knowing, but the Centennial Eagles will think about it anyway, maybe for the whole summer. They'll wonder what would have happened if they had not been victims of, in Coach Ron Martin's words, "Whatever that was down the third base line."
In the scorebook, it was an infield single. In effect, the 20-foot wobbler off the bat of Walkersville's Wayne Strobel swiped the momentum and helped send the Eagles to defeat in the Class 2A championship at Joe Cannon Stadium.
When Centennial pitcher Steve Fredrick fielded Strobel's unintentional bases-loaded bunt, he looked everywhere to try for a third out to end the fourth inning. But it was hopeless. Everybody was safe, and by the time Fredrick finally got out of the inning -- a double and a triple later -- Walkersville (21-3) had turned a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 lead.
"It wasn't going to get anybody out," Fredrick said of the grounder. "It's upsetting, because that led to five runs."
It may have led to more. The first four Walkersville batters in the next inning scored, in part because of two Centennial errors. The Eagles (20-6) may not have made those mistakes if they hadn't been rattled. Of course, if Walkersville hadn't left five runners on base in the first two innings, the results could have been even more lopsided.
"Steve worked hard to get out of the other innings," Martin said. "You can only live that life so many times."
Centennial, which has never won a state title, has now lost three championship games in the past seven years.
-- Angie Watts
CAPTION: Nick Clabaugh is safe at second, beating the tag by Centennial's Steve Fredrick during Walkersville's 9-5 win in Maryland Class 2A championship.