The Arundel High Wildcats recorded another close win Monday to keep their season alive, eeking out a 1-0 victory against Old Mill on a first-inning sacrifice fly.
The team played tight defense behind Cooper Hibbs to move on to the semifinals of the Class 4A East Regional tournament.
The Wildcats did many little things in the field to keep Old Mill from crossing the plate. There was first baseman A.J. Robinson scooping numerous throws from across the diamond, while also snaring a few grounders of his own for putouts.
There was Hibbs on the mound, allowing just a pair of hits and striking out four Patriots, while also recording a key pickoff in the fifth inning.
"Coop pitched one heck of a game for himself and the defense stepped up when we needed it to," Arundel coach Jason Lively said. "I sound like a broken record, saying I think offensively we didn't do what we're capable of. But it's been that way all year, and what's kept us in games is pitching and defense."
Arundel has won 12 in a row after starting the season 4-4.
Arundel's Syeed Mahdi led the game off with a walk, then stole second and moved to third when the throw sailed into centerfield. He then raced home when catcher Josh Gall lofted a sacrifice fly to left field. It was the game's only run, and Mahdi was one of only a handful of batters to even get into scoring position.
There was also a key moment in the fifth inning when the Patriots had a man on second with one out. Hibbs twirled off the mound and caught Brent Orbell leaning off the base, then snared him in a rundown.
"It's always the little things that matter," Lively said. "Working on pickoffs and getting that inside move, that was huge."
Old Mill had its best chance to score in the final frame, when Nestor Rentas led off with a walk and reached third. But Hibbs got Orbell to fly out to center, ending the threat and the game.
Old Mill's George Chaffin pitched well in the loss, giving up just two hits while striking out four.
Arundel will next host North County on Wednesday.
- Replay: Arundel-Old Mill Baseball