McDonough falls short in region final
Larson fans 12 in losing cause in 1A North title game
BEL AIR — On a day when both teams got stellar outings from their starting pitchers, the Patterson Mill High School baseball team came up with the timely hits that typically decide close games in defeating McDonough, 4-1, in the Class 1A North Region championship game on Friday afternoon.
Rams senior ace David Larson was on top of his game from the outset, striking out the side in the first inning and finishing the day with 12 strikeouts in six innings of work. Larson, who is headed to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts to play baseball and major in computer science, limited Patterson Mill to four runs on five hits, but a pair of walks came back to haunt him.
“It was a heck of a senior season,” Larson said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It was great to be part of this team. We had the chance to play in some big games the last two years. We had our chances today. They came up with the big hits when they needed them and we didn’t.”
“He probably could have kept them to a run or two if it wasn’t for the walks and the passed balls,” McDonough head coach Mike Lydon said of Larson’s final outing. “It seemed like every time they got a runner on they were able to move him over and come up with the timely hits. We had some scoring chances today, but we could not get the clutch hits.”
Part of the overall theme of the occasion unfolded in the bottom of the second inning. Patterson Mill first baseman Jacob Michael worked Larson for a one-out walk, then Nick Cress delivered a triple to right-center field for the game’s first run. Cress then scored when designated hitter Steve Spencer grounded out to short to lift the Huskies to a 2-0 lead.
Patterson Mill (20-3), last year’s 2A North Region champion, extended the lead to 3-0 in the home half of the fifth. Spencer drew a leadoff walk, stole second base and scored on a single up the middle by third baseman Jace Valle-Shaw. That would be all the run support that Huskies hurler Austin Koehn would need on Friday.
McDonough (18-6) finally ended Koehn’s shutout bid by scoring an unearned run in the top of the sixth. Senior first baseman Damien Price was hit by a pitch then went to third when Trevor Drummond reached on a throwing error by Cress. With none out and runners on first and third, catcher Peyton Myers plated Price with a sacrifice fly to left.
Koehn, who limited the Rams attack to one unearned run on one hit, one walk and one hit batter, fanned three of the last five batters he faced on Friday. Patterson Mill added an insurance run in the sixth when Max Elliott beat out an infield single, took second on a throwing error by Larson, third on a wild pitch and scored on a single past shortstop by Michael.
“Austin is only a sophomore and for him to keep that team to only one run on one hit and go seven innings in just 86 pitches showed a lot of maturity,” Patterson Mill head coach Matt Roseland said. “We only lose three seniors. We’re young, but most of these kids have been together the last three years. This was our fourth region title in the last five years.”
McDonough ended Koehn’s bid for a no-hitter in the fifth when second baseman Brant Butler led off with a single to center, was sacrifice bunted over to second by Hunter Sweeney and then took third on a groundout. Initially Butler was awarded home by the home plate umpire courtesy of a Koehn balk, but after conferring with the field umpire the balk was negated and Butler was sent back to third and stranded there when senior Jonathan Fisher popped up to short.
McDonough senior pitcher David Larson fires to the plate on Friday afternoon at Patterson Mill. Larson allowed four runs on five hits and two walks and fanned 12 batters in a losing cause as the Rams were upended by the Huskies 4-1 in the 1A North Region final.