No. 6 Howard nips Dulaney in 8 innings for trip to 4A baseball elite eight (VIDEO HERE!!)

The combo of Brendan Foster and Brian Jakubek helped Howard advanced to the Class 4A North Region baseball final Tuesday. The duo combined for a four-hiiter as the No. 7 Howard defeated eighth-ranked Dulaney in the section I final in Baltimore County.

by Derek Toney

Last spring, Howard High won its first region baseball championship with a victory at Dulaney. The Lions returned to Baltimore County Tuesday and took a step towards repeating as Class 4A North Region champions.

In a battle of VSN’s Top 10 squads, No. 6 Howard defeated No. 7 Dulaney, 2-1, in eight innings. Brendan Foster pitched shutout innings for Howard (17-5).

After Dulaney tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, the Howard County squad took advantage of a couple of mistakes by the hosts, advancing to Friday’s region final at Frederick County’s Urbana.

“That was a great great high school baseball game…fortunately we came out on top,” said Howard coach Nick Hoffner. “I thought we really did a good job keeping our composure.”

“Sometimes rather be lucky than good, and luck was on our side,” said Nick Jakubek.

Craig Wiley gave the Howard the lead in the eighth, eluding the tag in a rundown between third and home. With the tying run at second with one out, Jakubek struck out the final two batters.

Jakubek, who started at catcher, pitched three innings in relief of Foster, who came up his best performance of the spring. The junior righthander struck out seven and walked five.

“The first couple of innings were a little iffy, but I knew my catcher had my back,” said Foster.

“He just really made good pitches when he needed to,” said Hoffner. “He had good command of his fastball….runs were at premium.”

In the second, Ryan Kulick walked and two passed balls pushed him to third. Alex Campbell’s single to right field, plated Kulick for a 1-0 Howard advantage.

Dulaney (17-3) got a runner to second in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but Foster navigated his way out. Jakubek entered the sixth and gave up a two-out double to Tyler Tufano before striking out Hayden Williams.

Jakubek fell behind leadoff batter Jack Tarantino, who took Jakubek’s 3-1 offering over the rightfield netting to tie the game. Nolan Matsko doubled with one out, but Jakubek picked him off at second.

It was arguably the biggest of several missed opportunities for Baltimore County Division I champ Dulaney, which went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. After tying the game on Tarantino’s blast, Dulaney mishandled Wiley’s grounder at first to start the eighth, opening the door for Howard.

“A couple of mistakes…that’s high school baseball. Foster pitched a heck of a game,” said Dulaney coach Ryan Wolfsheimer, whose team last reached the state semifinals in 2001. “We lost eight guys last year, four are playing in college and we pick up where we left off. We’re still knocking on the door, and we’re going to bust it down sooner or later.”

Class 4A North Region playoffs

Section I final

No. 6 Howard 2, No. 7 Dulaney 1, 8 innings

Howard 010 000 01 – 2 5 1

Dulaney 000 000 10 – 1 4 1

Foster, Jakubek (6) and Jakubek and Kassiri; Mozoki, Tarantino and Lavoie

2B: Howard – Flynn; Dulaney – Matsko, Tufano

HR: Dulaney – Tarantino