Title roar for Howard

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Lions build big lead, holds off Dulaney to capture the 4A North Region baseball championship; first title since 1999 (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS/INTERVIEWS HERE!)




An efficient Howard High School baseball team made the most of its eight hits on Friday afternoon, rolling to a 9-0 lead and then holding off No. 6 Dulaney, 9-6, in the Class 4A North Region championship game in front of a large crowd in Timonium.

The 12th-ranked Howard Lions (16-7 overall) enjoyed stellar work out of the bullpen from right-hander Ryan Kearney, who allowed only one hit over the final 2.2 innings to help his team claim its first regional crown in 19 years.

Although Kearney had not pitched in two and a half weeks, he had excellent control of his pitches and wasn’t afraid to throw a breaking ball on a fastball count.

“I’m really not a closer,” Kearney confirmed. “And I only pitched about five times this year. I was just trying to keep the hitters off-balance.”

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior sealed the win in the seventh inning with two runners aboard and Casey Dreschler at the plate representing the tying run.

Kearney didn’t give in to Dreschler, mixing in his off-speed stuff to finally induce a fly ball to right.

“Ryan has ice water in his veins,” said Howard coach Nick Hoffner. “He had good command of three pitches. Having him just makes us that much better.”

The Howard Lions now move on to face the Severna Park/North Point winner on Tuesday at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda in a state semifinal. Severna Park and North Point were postponed on Friday and will play on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s all credit to the kids,” Hoffner added. “That’s why we’ve been able to win some close ball games.”

The game started off just the way Howard had hoped when catcher Brian Jakubek punched a two-run single up the middle to score Jaden Cowan and Sam Jacobson, the latter of whom had doubled off Dulaney starter Pat Fitzgerald.

In the second, Jake Alagna walked, stole two bases and romped home on Cowan’s single to make it 3-0.

“That was a big play by Jake,” Huffier said. “We needed all of those extra runs.”

A six-run fourth proved fatal to Dulaney’s Lions, as Howard scored on a missed third strike, bases-juiced walks to Jacobson and Cam Robinson, a single by Ryan Kulick and a two-run single by Craig Wiley to go up, 9-0.

Dulaney answered with three runs in the fourth and added three more in the fifth.

Jack Tarantino plated the first Dulaney run with a single down the right field line before another runner came home on a fielder’s choice. Catcher Mitch Lavoie’s single knocked in the third run of the inning.

The Dulaney Lions were at it again in the fifth, scoring on a single by Drew Bossi, a double by Hayden Williams and a ground out by Tarantino.

That’s when Kearney came in to blunt the Baltimore County school’s rally bid and close the door on Dulaney’s stellar 18-3 campaign.

“This team has a lot of want-to in them,” Dulaney coach Drew Burton said. “We still thought we would be able to rally back into it. This team loves baseball more than any other team I’ve ever coached.”


HOW (16-7) 210 600 0 — 9 8 4
DUL   (18-3) 000 330 0 — 6 7 2

HOW — Gabe Delgado, Connor Wliiams (4), Ryan Kearney (4) and Brian Jakubek.
DUL — Pat Fitzgerald, Danny Beard (4), Ben Stoner (5), Hayden Williams (6) and Mitch Lavoie.
2B: HOW-Sam Jacobson; DUL-Hayden Williams

Last Updated (Sunday, 21 May 2017 12:06)



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