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Squeeze bunt gives Williamsport Class 2A state baseball title

May 26, 2012|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • Williamsport coach David Warrenfeltz (18) holds up the Maryland Class 2A baseball championship trophy after a 2-1 victory over Patuxent in nine innings at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen on Saturday.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

ABERDEEN, Md. — It is a special feat when a sports team can lay claim to finishing the season with a win.

That’s exactly what the Williamsport Wildcats baseball team accomplished Saturday, ending the year with a thrilling 2-1 victory in nine innings over Patuxent for the Maryland Class 2A state championship at Ripken Stadium.

“This is a dream come true,” said senior Tyler Byers, shaving cream still covering one side of his face. “Not many can say they won a championship.”

Williamsport (15-9) did it by giving Patuxent (19-5) a piece of its own medicine after the Panthers tied the game 1-1 with a squeeze bunt of its own in the seventh inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Byers led off with a bloop single to left-center and Tyler Martin came in as a courtesy runner.

With a sacrifice bunt the obvious call as Ryan Butts stepped to the plate, Martin took off for second base and stole it instead, giving the Wildcats the potential winning run in scoring position — much like they had in earlier innings before squandering opportunities.

“(Tyler) had the go-ahead on the first leg lift by the pitcher,” said coach David Warrenfeltz.

“I got a great jump,” said Martin.

Butts then laid down a perfect bunt that advanced Martin to third.

Patuxent coach Keith Powell ordered the next two Wildcats — Nick Williams and Riley Arnone — intentionally walked to load the bases.

Into the box stepped Brandon Toloso, who earlier doubled and scored on Tyler Nally’s single in the third inning to give Williamsport a 1-0 lead at that point.

Warrenfeltz immediately called for the squeeze and Toloso executed it perfectly, placing the ball to the right of the plate with Martin sliding head-first into home plate with the state championship-winning run.

“I was ready for the bunt,” said Toloso. “I got a curve ball, perfect to bunt.”

“I decided we were going to try the squeeze right away,” said Warrenfeltz.

Martin’s slide set off pandemonium among the players and the team’s large following in the stands.

Zach Lucas pitched five innings of three-hit ball, coming back from his five innings of work in Thursday’s semifinal to hold the Panthers in check with only one walk and three strikeouts.

“I was tired but I had better stuff today than Thursday,” said Lucas.

Warrenfeltz agreed, saying Lucas gave “an unbelievable performance.”

As he did on Thursday, Byers followed Lucas to the mound, allowed five hits and the one run, walked none and struck out three.

“(Byers) has like been pitching on one leg,” said Warrenfeltz. “We just keep taping his ankle up and he keeps going.”

Patuxent scored in the seventh when Cody Robertson led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Gabe Castro followed with a bunt when Williamsport failed to cover first base, moving courtesy runner Tyler Crouse from second to third.

Immediately, Preston Ross laid down a squeeze bunt that Byers dove for in front of the mound but couldn’t quite catch as Crouse scored.

Williamsport had Byers at second with one out in the fourth but failed to score. The Wildcats then had Riley Arnone at third with one out in the fifth but failed to get him home.

“We had some scoring situations we let get away from us,” said Warrenfeltz.

Williamsport, which lost its last three regular-season games, stood at 9-9 when tournament time came but defeated Wheaton, Liberty, South Carroll, Century and Loch Raven prior to Saturday.

The championship is the first for Williamsport in the four-class structure of the MPSSAA and its second overall, having won the Class B title in 1975. It was the 12th appearance in the state finals for the Wildcats.

Williamsport 2, Patuxent 1
Patuxent                         Williamsport
              Ab    r    h    bi                 ab    r    h    bi
Jones cf    4    0    0    0    Nally cf    4    0    3    1
Dcastro p    4    0    1    0    Bgreene 3b    4    0    0    0
Morgan ss    4    0    2    0    Lucas p    4    0    0    0
Portillo c    4    0    0    0    Byers dh-p    3    0    2    0
Robrtsn 1b-p    4    1    2    0    Martin cr    0    1    0    0
Tewell lf    4    0    2    0    Butts c    3    0    0    0
Gcastro 3b    3    0    1    0    Williams 1b    3    0    0    0
Ross 2b    3    0    1    1    Arnone lf    3    0    1    0
Edwards rf    2    0    0    0    Toloso ss    3    1    1    1
                                       Ballen rf        1    0    0    0
Totals32    1    9    1         Totals    28    2    7    2
Patuxent         000    000    100    –    1
Williamsport    001    000    001    –    2
E—Robertson, Toloso. DP—Patuxent 2, Williamsport 1. LOB—Patuxent 8, Williamsport 7. 2B—Toloso, T. Byers. S—G. Castro, B. Allen, Toloso. SB—Martin.
                              IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO
 Patuxent
D.Castro               7 2-3    6    1    1    2    3
Robertson L,5-4    1 1-3     2    1    1    2    0
 Williamsport
Lucas                      5    3    0    0    1    3
Byers W, 6-2            4    5    1    1    0    3
WP—D. Castro. Balk-Lucas.

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