When the ball pinged off Truman Thomas’s bat and headed for left field, the anticipatory murmur started immediately among Southern’s fans. Was it long enough? Was it high enough to clear the wall? Was it going to stay fair?
As it became clearer the answer to each of their questions was “yes,” the low murmur turned into a roar, and when Thomas rounded third base, the rest of his Southern teammates were at home waiting for him.
On their road to the Maryland 2A state championship a year ago, the Bulldogs displayed a flair for the dramatic, walking off with the title in the seventh inning. In capturing the 2A South region championship against Patuxent on Friday evening, Southern did it again, with Thomas’s two-run home run sealing a 12-2 mercy rule victory in five innings in Harwood.
Southern will face 2A West region champion South Carroll on Tuesday at Blair in the state semifinals.
Thomas led Southern both on the mound and at the plate. The Maryland recruit was 3 for 3 with three RBI and three runs scored, and he struck out seven in five innings.
His lone hiccup came in the third inning when he allowed a two-run double to third baseman Alex Thompson and the Panthers cut Southern’s lead to 3-2. But Thomas retired seven of the last eight Patuxent batters he faced.
“He’s our bulldog,” Southern Coach Frank Hood said.
Leadoff batter Dillon Waters was 2 for 2 with three RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases, and Brendan Carwile was 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored for the Bulldogs, who have outscored their three postseason opponents 52-2.
“This team, it’s always entertainment with them,” Thomas said. “We’re always in it and we’re never out of it in my head. . . . As long as we play the defense we can play, then I think we can make a repeat.”
The Pumas will play Gaithersburg, which returns to the state semifinals for the second straight season after beating Blair in the 4A West final, 6-3. Left-hander Anthony Felitti struck out 11 in six innings.
Kody Milton hit a home run in the sixth inning to complete the comeback for the Falcons, who trailed 4-0 after the first inning. Severna Park will face Perry Hall, which beat Paint Branch, 8-1, in the 4A North final. . . .
McDonough claimed its first region title with a 6-5 victory over Sparrows Point in the 1A North final. David Larson hit a three-run walk-off home run for the Rams.