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Prep Baseball: 'Cats start hot, finish off run through 2A West

May 18, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

SYKESVILLE, Md. — Ryan Butts grinned and eloquently understated the emotions of the moment.

“It’s a great feeling,” Williamsport’s senior catcher said.

What felt great was hard to put a finger on. There was so much to choose from.

Somewhere on the list was the fact the Wildcats posted a seven-run first inning — highlighted by Butts’ three-run home run — and rode a wave of confidence to an 11-6 victory over Century on Friday to claim the Maryland Class 2A West baseball championship.

Butts finished with four RBIs and starting pitcher Zach Lucas held the Knights in check for 4 2/3 innings despite allowing four home runs to move Williamsport into a state semifinal match with Loch Raven on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md.

The victory gave Williamsport its second straight trip to the state semifinals. The Wildcats made it to the Class 1A semifinals last year, losing to eventual state champion St. Michael’s.

“We had a lot of heart today,” said Lucas, who also homered. “In the last two weeks, we’ve been through a lot, but we are laying it all on the line for Brendon and his family.”

Brendon is Brendon Colliflower, the senior pitcher who died in an auto accident on May 5. He has been the inspiration for Williamsport to get this far — and to look further — in the state tournament.

“It’s been a fairy-tale story,” said Williamsport coach David Warrenfeltz. “We just enjoy being together every day and we are doing everything to keep the season alive. We want to do it for Brendon and his family, Sam (Kelly, who also died in the crash) and the whole community.”

The Wildcats tried to take care of it all right from the first pitch of the game.

Tyler Nally led off with a single off Century starter Tyler Fellner, took second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout before scoring when Lucas was safe on an infield error.

After Tyler Byers drew his first of three walks to put two on, Butts ripped a drive to left to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead. Ironically, it came a day after he drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home the winning run against South Carroll.

“I got a good pitch to hit,” Butts said. “I got a good pitch up and put the bat on it. It was huge. It helped settle our nerves, but we still had to keep playing and scoring runs.”

The ‘Cats added three more in the inning as Brandon Toloso hit a sacrifice fly and Nally added a two-run double to end Fellner’s day and post the 7-0 lead.

Lucas led off the second with his homer to right off reliever Michael Austin to make it 8-1.

In the meantime, Century scored in each of the first three innings to close to within 8-5, mostly off of home runs.

Austin hit his first of two solo shots in the first, Spenser Ricks hit a two-run homer to cap a three-run second and Kyle Brandt hit a two-out shot in the third to keep the Knights in contention.

“This is the smallest field we’ve played on all year,” Lucas said. “That was the only way they scored — on home runs. Getting that seven runs in first inning gave me a lot of confidence. I still had to keep my mind on pitching and hit my spots, but I had a lot of confidence.”

Williamsport added two runs in the fifth on Butts’ RBI groundout and a wild pitch to move to a 10-5 lead. Century got one of them back with Austin’s second homer, which ended Lucas’ day and brought on Byers in relief.

The Wildcats closed the scoring in the sixth on Aaron Green’s RBI single. Green came on in the fifth when Nally injured his knee running out a fifth-inning single.

“Again, our seniors came through for us,” Warrenfeltz said. “We set the tone early and did what we had to do. We got good pitching and the defense was big.”

Lucas got the win after allowing six runs on seven hits before Byers shut the door with 2 1/3 shutout innings. Nally had three hits and Lucas finished with two.

“This is a good way to end it,” Butts said. “But we still have two more games to go.”

Williamsport 11, Century 6
Williamsport    710    021    0    —    11    11    1
Century 131    010    0    —    6    7    1
Lucas, Byers (5) and Butts; Fellner, Austin (1), Slade (6) and Berch. WP — Lucas. LP — Fellner. HR — W: Butts (1st, one on), Lucas (2nd, none on), C: Austin 2 (1st, none on; 5th, none on); Ricks (2nd, one on), Brandt (3rd, none on).

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