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Garrett ends Skipjacks’ baseball season
Chesapeake’s 8-5 loss to Lakers results in one-game postseason

McHENRY – It’s easy to summarize Chesapeake College’s travels Tuesday – two long bus rides, with too short a baseball postseason sandwiched in between.

The fifth-seeded Skipjacks traveled nearly five hours to play fourth-seeded host Garrett College in the NJCAA Division I Region XX tournament play-in game. The trip home probably seemed a lot longer after the Lakers used an 8-5 victory to put a disappointing end to the Skipjacks’ third straight season of 30 or more wins.

"That (another 30-win season) is a great accomplishment, but obviously we wanted to go further in the playoffs," said Frank Szymanski, who won his 200th game at Chesapeake as part of his eighth season as head coach.

Garrett (31-19) bolted to a 7-0 lead, but the Skipjacks (30-21) fought their way back into the game with a late-inning charge.

Eddie West’s two-run, sixth-inning homer put Chesapeake on the board and Cody Holliday (2-for-4, double) blasted a solo shot off Garrett starter Greg Beachy leading off the seventh. Kellen Shepard’s two-out, two-run double off the fence later in the seventh made it 7-5 and brought the tying run to the plate, but Garrett reliever Reed Alfieri induced Brad Brainer into an inning-ending popout.

That was where the comeback ended. Alfieri retired the final seven batters and Mike Dobre (2-for-5) hit an eighth-inning solo homer to give the Lakers another insurance run as they advanced to this weekend’s double-elimination regional Final Four.

"We’ve got to tip our hats to Garrett," said Szymanski. "They came out and grabbed a quick lead, which is huge in the playoffs.

"I was pretty proud of the way we battled back," added Szymanski. "We showed a lot of character."

Mike Deleeuw gave Garrett a 1-0 lead in the home third with a run-scoring single off Chesapeake starter Justin Sousa. Sousa, who took the loss, allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts in four-plus innings, while reliever Kurt Bruce gave up two runs on three hits over the final four frames.

The Lakers made it 5-0 with a four-run fourth as Trey Stewart and Dobre delivered RBI singles. Center fielder Shepard’s throw to third on Dobre’s hit went into the Garrett dugout, allowing two more runs to score.

John Howard (3-for-4) had an RBI single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kris Torrance (2-for-4) in a two-run fifth that made it 7-0.

Bryan Woolford (2-for-3, walk) joined Holliday with multiple hits for the Skipjacks, but Chesapeake managed only seven hits for the game.

While the season ended earlier than he wanted, Szymanski said he’s proud of his eight sophomores – Barry Fetter, Kellen Shepard, Brad Brainer, Cody Holliday, Justin Sousa, Chris Cirillo, John Windsor, and Justin Martin – who helped the team win 60 games over their Chesapeake careers.

"I want to thank those guys," said Szymanski. "I think they accomplished a lot in two years."

Notes: The Skipjacks have won exactly 100 games in the last three years, going 100-54-1 since the start of the 2005 season.

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