Szymanski claims 200th Chesapeake baseball win
Skipjacks top winless PG to keep an inside lane in baseball race
WYE MILLS To hear Frank Szymanski, it’s as if he’s had almost nothing to do with his 200 wins as Chesapeake College’s head baseball coach.
"When I think about 200 wins, I think about a lot of good baseball players and assistant coaches who have made it possible, and about the tremendous support provided by the faculty, staff and administration," said Szymanski, who improved to 200-151-4 at Chesapeake after Tuesday’s 9-3 win over visiting Prince George’s Community College.
"He’s just a great coach the best coach I’ve ever played for," said Chesapeake sophomore Kellen Shepard, whose one-out triple started a two-run eighth inning that broke Tuesday’s game wide open. "He has a great knowledge of the game, he always keeps his composure and he never gives up."
The victory over winless Prince George’s allowed the Skipjacks (26-13 overall, 11-4 Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference) to stay in the thick of a wide-open conference race. CCBC-Catonsville (23-14, 13-4) and Anne Arundel Community College (19-17, 13-4, pending Tuesday’s game against Montgomery College Rockville) are the other two remaining four-loss teams in the conference standings.
Meanwhile, Montgomery College Germantown (19-10, 15-5) currently has the conference’s best winning percentage in league games (.750). All told, six teams started play Tuesday within two games of the lead in the loss column.
"It’s fun and it’s exciting," Szymanski said of the state title race. "This is what you play for it’s a great opportunity for us."
PG made the Skipjacks work for Tuesday’s win. Brad Brainer’s three-run, fourth-inning homer gave Chesapeake a 4-1 lead, but the Owls cut the deficit to 4-3 with a two-run sixth as winning pitcher Justin Martin uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch and losing pitcher Steven Henry delivered an RBI single.
The Skipjacks, however, gained control by scoring three runs with two outs in the seventh inning. J.T. Gregory had an RBI single and Joe Ashley delivered a two-run double off Henry, who allowed 13 hits but struck out eight while going the distance.
Shepard then ignited the eighth-inning rally with a one-out triple and scored on an Adam Delauter sacrifice fly. Brainer, who went 3-for-5 and lacked only a double to hit for the cycle, then tripled and scored on Bryan Woolford’s two-out single.
Martin earned the win by spacing five hits and four walks over six innings while striking out nine. Reliever Jeremy Grove then handcuffed the Owls over the last three innings, yielding one hit while striking out five, to earn the save.
Cody Holliday (3-for-5, run, RBI) and Gregory (2-for-4, double, RBI) joined Brainer with multiple hits for the Skipjacks.
Chesapeake now heads into a critical part of its schedule, facing CCBC-Catonsville at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Wednesday in a 7 p.m. showdown, then playing another 7 p.m. night game Thursday at Harford Community College. The Skipjacks host Frederick Community College Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
"Every game is a big game for us with the way the state race shapes up," said Szymanski. "We’ll play ’em all like they’re the seventh game of the World Series."
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