ABERDEEN, Md. — Some Spalding players sat in the dugout and watched the rain pound the tarp on the infield at Ripken Stadium. Others played an impromptu game, tossing water bottles from the dugout steps. Starting pitcher Jordan Carr made the trek up the right field line to the batting cages to stay loose after a shaky start put his team in an early hole.
No matter how the Cavaliers spent the roughly 40-minute delay in the top of the fourth inning, they returned rejuvenated. No. 1 Spalding defended its Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A conference title with a 4-1 comeback win Sunday over Calvert Hall.
“It was just like a mental reset for our whole team,” Carr said. “We got ourselves together, and we really came out and said, ‘This is the championship. We’ve got to come out and play.’ ”
The Cavaliers (24-3) trailed 1-0 when they retreated to the dugout for the delay. Carr allowed three straight singles to start the game, and Calvert Hall right-hander Bradley Weber was presenting a challenge on the mound.
But when Carr returned, he struck out the first batter he faced to end the fourth, and in the bottom of the inning, center fielder Billy Godrick singled in third baseman Nick Vermillion to tie the game. Godrick scored on an error later in the inning to give Spalding the lead.
Carr, a UNC Asheville recruit, settled in, and when he struck out Dariel Torres for the final out, he pumped his first and flung his glove into the air.
“No matter how long you’ve been around, you’re going to have nerves in this situation, pitching in this stadium, pitching against that team that’s been here 11 years in a row,” Spalding Coach Joe Palumbo said. “He used that as time to settle down and improve.”
In the MIAA B conference final, St. Mary’s-Annapolis won its second straight title with a 6-4 win over Boys’ Latin. First baseman Max Hammond went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBI, and freshman right-hander Stephen Pelli allowed three runs in six innings while striking out seven for the Saints (25-2).
“Stephen’s special,” Poss said. “He’s got a bright, bright future ahead of him. I’m glad I have him for three more years. He’s pitched in some big games for us this year.”
St. Mary’s-Annapolis is 52-3 over the past two seasons and loses only three seniors from this year’s squad heading into the stiff competition of the A conference next season.