Goretti wins Md. baseball title

May 26, 1998|By JACK HILL III

Since the beginning of preseason practice, the St. Maria Goretti baseball team kept one piece of information filed away in the back of its mind.

Second wasn't good enough.

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The Gaels ended the 1997 as the second best team in the Maryland Private Schools Divison B State Tournament. The focus for this season was simple - to be No. 1.

On Sunday, Goretti dreams became reality. Pitcher Brad Runkles pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts to lift the Gaels to a 6-2 victory over The Bullis School for that elusive championship, the first state title in school history.

"We set our goal to win the state championship, and we reached our goal," said shortstop George Everly, who was selected the tournament's most valuable player. "We have been preparing for this tournament all season. We put the bad times behind us, and we just came through in the clutch when we had to."


And it started and ended with Runkles (9-1), a junior left-hander who accounted for 56 percent of the Gaels' 16 wins this season.

After allowing a two-run home run to Blake Hering in the first inning, Runkles took total control over Bullis' offense.

"I just wanted to throw a lot of different stuff and mix it up," Runkles said. "I was beginning to wonder after I gave up that two-run homer, but I decided to stay focused and keep my composure."

Because it was only a matter of time before Goretti's offense came to their pitcher's rescue with four runs in the third. Runkles drove home the first run with a base-loaded single and Joe Widmyer broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run single to center.

"Once we got four runs, we had a little cushion," Runkles said. "Things started clicking after that. My curveball was really working. I got ahead in the count quite a bit, and that helped."

Goretti tagged Bullis (8-14) for two insurance runs in the fourth as Reagan Clutz singled and scored on Everly's triple. Everly scored on Anthony Sowers' single to left.

Everly finished with two hits and an RBI. He also came on in relief to earn two saves earlier in the tournament in his final games before attending Penn State in the fall on a baseball scholarship.

Runkles and Widmyer also had two hits each to put the cap on Goretti's major objective of the season.

"It was a great group of kids to work with," Goretti coach Mike Montedoro said. "They won the big tournament games that counted. We're just excited that we were able to accomplish something that we worked so hard for."

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