May 11—In its final game before the state playoffs, Urbana baseball looked more than ready to contend.

The Hawks cycled through their top three pitchers in Tuesday’s Central Maryland Conference championship game, and each one shut down a strong Catoctin lineup. Their batters went to work, too, jumping on the Cougars with eight runs in the first four innings.

It culminated in an 8-1 Urbana win over Catoctin at Frederick Community College, one that served as a tune-up for both teams as they prepare to make their push for a state title. The victory gave the Hawks their third CMC title.

“When we put it all together, we’re very good,” Urbana coach Mike Frownfelter said. “We pitched great, we had key base hits when we needed them and we played good defense. When we do that, we’re tough to beat.”

Despite sitting atop the Frederick County standings for most of the season, the Hawks and Cougars were not on each other’s regular-season schedule. So, Tuesday’s matchup provided a chance for both to face high-level competition before the stakes ramp up over the next two weeks.

Catoctin (13-4) had played the night prior and rested top starters Joey McMannis and Dalton Williams, giving the rest of their pitchers a chance to work against tough hitters.

Urbana second baseman Riley Smith greeted starter Peyton Castellow with a booming triple to lead off the game, and he scored on Keegan Johnson’s sacrifice fly. Then, a pair of errors extended the inning, and three more Hawks runs scored before the Cougars had a chance to hit.

Urbana (16-4) continued chipping away in the third and fourth innings, scratching across four more runs on three RBI singles and a double steal.

But the Hawks truly shined on the mound. They rotated Brendan Yagesh, Eli DeRossi-Cytron and Johnson so none of them ran their pitch count too high, and each one came out throwing high heat and wicked breaking balls.

The three stymied Catoctin’s hitters, combining to strike out 16 while scattering six hits.

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“Going in and shutting them down is definitely a confidence boost for us,” DeRossi-Cytron said. “Energy can really control a baseball game, especially in high school.”

The Cougars made their lone breakthrough in the second inning when shortstop Jacob Bell doubled in Castellow. But they otherwise came up empty facing three elite arms.

Still, it provided an important gauge for Catoctin and gave the team a chance to get swings in against the type of pitchers the team will face the deeper it gets in the playoffs.

“If that doesn’t prepare you and get you better, nothing will,” Cougars coach Mike Franklin said. “We needed that.”

Urbana’s victory also marked a milestone for Frownfelter, as he claimed his 200th career win in 17 seasons at the school.

“It just tells you how long I’ve been here,” Frownfelter said with a chuckle.

Many of those years have been filled with wins like those his team secured Tuesday, dominant all-around performances that reinforced the Hawks as a state title contender.

Urbana controlled the game from the opening batter and staked its claim atop the county and the conference. The Hawks get a quarterfinal bye before hosting a Class 4A West Region II semifinal on Saturday.

If they play like they did Tuesday, it could be the start of a contending run.

“If we play like we did with excitement and intensity and we pitch like we did, we’ll come out on top. I have a good feeling,” Frownfelter said.