C.M. Wright 1
It was fitting that the entire Centennial baseball team sprinted toward Jon Dupski as soon as the final out was recorded in the Eagles' 10-1 victory over C.M. Wright in yesterday's Maryland 3A final. No player had been more responsible for guiding Centennial to its second title in three years.
Dupski (11-1) capped a phenomenal season by holding the Mustangs (19-5) to one run on five hits to go with four strikeouts in five innings. His 11 wins are the second-most ever by a Howard County pitcher.
As Dupski was zipping his fastball by batters and baffling them with a curveball that sliced the outer part of home plate, C.M. Wright's pitchers allowed Centennial hitters to literally walk to the state title at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans. C.M. Wright pitchers issued four walks with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
"We knew that exactly three years ago today we won our first state title, and we'd been hearing a lot about it before the game," said Centennial junior catcher Dan Shillingburg, who went 2 for 3 with one RBI. "So we knew we had to win another one."
Centennial's nine-run margin of victory was the largest in any championship game in the state's second largest classification.
Leading 4-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Eagles (21-4) proceeded scored six runs on four hits. Three C.M. Wright pitchers walked in runs, and senior Steve Seh and freshman Alex Bechta accounted for the other two with RBI singles.
"Our hitters' best friend was their pitch selection and we were really patient out there, and that was a big difference in the game," Centennial Coach Denis Ahearn said. "This was a great way to end what has been just an outstanding season."
After Seh and Shillingburg each had run-scoring singles in the first inning, C.M. Wright pulled to within 2-1 on junior Steve Donithan's two-out single. But Centennial extended its lead to 4-1 in the second after two runs scored on a throwing error on a grounder hit by Bechta (3 for 4, two RBI).
Though five Eagles collected at least one hit and six players drove in at least one run -- led by Seh's three -- the night belonged to Dupksi. After dominating the Mustangs for five innings, the left-hander was moved to first base and relievers Todd Abicht and Kyle Murray closed out the game.
"It was just an amazing night," Dupski said. "Everyone on our team did something in this victory, and that's what makes it even better."