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When Sherwood played for the Maryland 4A championship in 2021, Amari Allen was hurling fastballs for DeMatha.

A year later, he was running toward the crowd of Sherwood fans at McCurdy Field in Frederick after being the catalyst on the mound during the Warriors’ 3-1 win over Churchill in the state semifinals Wednesday.

After hearing stories from his teammates about playing in a state championship game last year — which it won in extra inning innings against Severna Park — Allen will get his opportunity against Severna Park on Friday at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.

“It’s everything,” Allen said about reaching the title game. “It’s all about team first, though. It’s all about us being together … but I’m ready to feel that feeling that they had last year that I wasn’t a part of.”

Wednesday’s semifinal matchup was the third meeting between No. 3 Sherwood (22-1) and No. 2 Churchill (18-2), with the teams splitting the first two. Allen hadn’t taken the bump in either matchup. He got the start this time around and was the X-factor.

After a troubling first inning in which he loaded the bases after walking back-to-back batters, the junior settled in for five scoreless innings that included eight strikeouts.

Allen’s bat was working just as well as his arm. He went 2 for 3 before being intentionally walked in the seventh.

“Amari’s a big piece of our puzzle offensively,” Coach Sean Davis said. “He’s a guy that teams game-plan around, but we’ve got other good players too.”

Leadoff hitter Niko Pernie knocked in all three runs for Sherwood with a two-run hit in the second inning and a single that sneaked through the infield to score Jack Andre in the fourth.

Churchill struggled to get anything going off Allen after the first inning. The Bulldogs managed to load the bases in the sixth inning against reliever Mac Crismond but scored their only run on a double play.

“We gave them too much. We gave them very little, but it was too much,” Churchill Coach Pat Skellchock said. “They got a key hit. We had opportunities; we didn’t get a key hit.”

Severna Park gets return trip

Angel Santiago-Cruz lifted a ball into the outfield, driving in James Henson III and sending Severna Park to its second consecutive 4A title appearance.

A five-inning mercy rule win, 10-0 over Dulaney, set up not just consecutive trips to the championship but another shot at Sherwood for the Falcons (18-3).

Junior Seamus Patenaude led the way on the mound, pitching a shutout.

Glenelg redeems itself in extras

After a devastating 14-inning loss in the 2021 region final, Glenelg was headed to extra innings Wednesday with a spot in the 2022 Maryland 2A championship game on the line.

Glenelg wasted little time as outfielder Todd Calhoun laid down a perfect bunt to put the Gladiators ahead before junior Jackson Kelley closed out a 4-3 win over North East to send them to their first state final appearance in nearly 25 years.

The Gladiators (18-5) were cruising, leading 3-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh, when North East (20-2) rallied to tie the game.

Kelley hadn’t been used in the playoffs to that point, but he was ready.

“I’ve been telling him that we’d need him in a moment like this,” Coach Steve Tiffany said.

The first two North East batters got on base, but Kelley retired the next three batters to send the Gladiators through to face top-seeded Patuxent in Saturday’s championship game.

Patuxent extends perfect run

Brady Powell has been a key hitter all season for undefeated Patuxent.

In the Panthers’ 3-1 win over Liberty in the state semifinals in Waldorf, his work on the mound brought the Panthers (24-0) one step closer to their first 2A state title.

Powell pitched only 11 innings throughout the season but delivered with six strikouts in 3⅓ clutch innings Wednesday. The George Mason commit, who usually anchors the middle infield, hadn’t allowed an earned run all season.

“He didn’t pitch much in his whole life until really this year, but he’s done a tremendous job,” said Coach Keith Powell, Brady’s father. “He’s our leader, we really feed off his energy, and tonight really showed that.

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