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(Enlarge) C. Milton Wright's Tyler Yudiski, left, congratulates teammate Ryan Corn after crossing the plate in Saturday evening's Class 3A championship baseball game at Ripken Stadium. (Matt Button | Aegis staff)

Prior to the 2010 Class 3A championship baseball game, the C. Milton Wright Mustangs had been to five state finals in the last 23 years, and five times they had watched their opponents walk away with the title. On Saturday night at Ripken Stadium, a 4-1 victory over the host-team Huntingtown Hurricanes allowed the Mustangs to erase their two-decade championship drought, and bring home their first state baseball crown.

Senior right-hander Brad Markey was tapped to make the start for CMW, and he was nearly untouchable through the first five frames, surrendering a single and walking one hitter, while setting five Hurricanes down on strikes. Over the full seven innings, Markey (8-0) allowed five hits and struck out seven.

“Coach got a scouting report on them, so I knew what they could and couldn’t hit,” Markey said after the game. “I was working with [catcher Andrew] Clow on that, and with our defense behind me, they didn’t worry me at all.”

Holding a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Markey, whose last earned run came in an April 21 game with Bel Air, allowed back-to-back, two-out singles. With two men on base, the fifth Hurricane batter of the frame stroked a base hit to short right, bringing the lead runner home. CMW right fielder Brian Dippel scooped the ball and fired to shortstop Andrew Gilley, who made a strong relay throw to Ryan Corn at third. Corn’s tag caught the sliding Huntingtown runner, ending the frame.

“The defense we had today was phenomenal,” CMW head coach Tony Blackburn said. “Dippel shooting that kid at third in the sixth, that was huge for us. The momentum was going their way a little, and as soon as that happened, that was it. [Also] I knew if things got crazy, I had [pitcher] Bobby Ruse getting hot in the bullpen, which was comforting.”

Up by three in the bottom of the seventh, Markey surrendered one last single to the leadoff hitter, then retired the next three Hurricanes in order, sealing the Mustangs’ first-ever baseball title and setting off a wild celebration on the infield grass.

The Mustang offense got things going in the top of the first when Colt Hancock reached base on a throwing error, stole second base, then moved over to third on a passed ball. With two men down, Markey hit a slow roller to second, and reached safely when the Huntingtown first baseman’s foot left the bag as he made the catch. Hancock scored on the play, putting CMW up 1-0.

“Once we got that one run, I figured, lets just keep small balling it,” Blackburn said. “I thought, lets just get one more run, then one more. My number was five; if we could get to five runs, I thought there was no way we could lose.”

Markey allowed a two-out single to right in the bottom of the second, and the Huntingtown runner immediately got the signal to steal second. Clow’s throw pulled Gilley to the right side of the bag, but Gilley was able to wheel around and swipe the Hurricane runner’s leg for the third out.

Justin Martin started CMW’s half of the third with a base hit to right. Gilley then reached base on a throwing error, and Hancock loaded the bases with an infield hit. Clow knocked Martin home with another infield single, and Corn made the score 3-0 with an RBI groundout that plated Gilley.

In the sixth, Corn earned a leadoff walk, and was moved over to second by Shane Halsey’s sacrifice hit. Batting third, Dippel slammed a fastball over the left fielder’s head for the game’s only double, making the score 4-0 in CMW’s favor.

With Saturday’s state final victory, the Mustangs closed out a perfect 23-0 season in which they posted a state-record 12 shutouts and brought home another UCBAC crown. Prior to Saturday’s game, CMW had been to the baseball final in 1988, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2008. Blackburn, who was at the helm when the Mustangs were runners-up in 2006, said before Saturday’s game that the 2010 team had more talent than any he has coached, and that he was confident his squad had everything it needed to bring home a title.

“I’m glad we did it [this year], because I’d be out of answers,” Blackburn said. “We have a successful softball program, a successful girls lacrosse program, a successful cross country program. It’s going to be so nice to walk into [our] gym now and see that banner hanging up for baseball.”

“I’ve been waiting for this for four years,” Markey said. “I don’t really have the words; it’s just amazing.

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