Skipjacks’ last-chance rally leads to sweep
Herbert’s two-out, two-run single beats UM club team, 5-4
WYE MILLS The Major League Baseball playoffs don’t have a monopoly on October excitement.
Chesapeake College’s baseball team, down to its final strike, using a two-run single by J.V. Herbert to beat the University of Maryland club team, 5-4, Sunday afternoon. The comeback allowed the Skipjacks, 10-5 winners over the Terps in Game 1, to complete a doubleheader sweep.
"Maryland’s club team is very competitive they’ve got some excellent baseball players," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski, whose team improved its fall record to 13-5-1. "It was a great comeback. I liked the way we responded in the bottom of the ninth. Both teams played hard and it was very competitive."
This weekend’s strong performances were just the most recent impressive outings for the Skipjacks, who have taken two-of-three games from defending Maryland JuCo champion CCBC-Catonsville, split with consistent state and region title contender Cecil College, and defeated perennial Region XIX champions Brookdale (N.J.) Community College.
"We play such a difficult schedule in the spring, so we try to prepare our team as best we can in the fall," said Szymanski, whose team has won a combined 100 games the last three spring seasons. "Playing tough teams is the only way to do it.
"It’s been very positive," added Szymanski. "The new players are responding to the system. The returners are leading in a positive manner. We’re excited about the future."
With Chesapeake trailing Maryland’s club team, 4-2, J.J. Corriveau opened the bottom of the ninth with a single and moved to second on Ben Newport’s groundout. Mathieu Vallieres singled to score Corriveau and pull the Skipjacks within 4-3.
J.T. Gregory popped out for the second out, but Kurt Bruce walked. Vallieres and Bruce then moved to third and second, respectively, on a double steal. Herbert (2-for-4) won the game by hitting a 2-2 pitch up the middle to score both Vallieres and Bruce to end the game.
Greg Snyder, who surrendered a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to give Maryland a 4-2 lead, got the win.
Andrew Markey (2-for-4, double, two RBI), Matt O’Donnell (3-for-4, RBI, triple, two runs, stolen base), and (Corriveau 2-for-3, RBI, stolen base) led the offensive attack in Game 1 of the Maryland doubleheader.
The Skipjacks, who won four of five games over the weekend, also had to stage a comeback to beat host Harford Community College, 11-8, last Friday afternoon. Chesapeake put together four-run rallies in both the eighth and ninth innings, wiping out a 6-3 deficit, and then held off an Owl comeback in the bottom of the ninth.
"We were hitting the ball pretty well all day with nothing to show for it, and then we finally broke it open at the end of the game," said Szymanski.
Vallieres (3-for-5, two runs, three RBI) and Bryan Woolford each had RBI doubles while Joe Garrity (3-for-4, run, RBI) and J.T. Gregory added run-scoring singles during a four-run eighth that gave Chesapeake a 7-6 lead. Brian Brown (3-for-3, three runs scored) cracked a three-run homer as part of the ninth-inning explosion, and Gregory survived a two-run Harford rally while pitching the ninth inning, when Harford brought the tying run to the plate.
Chris Flerlage, who allowed one run while pitching the seventh inning, earned the win.
Chesapeake’s pitching staff allowed no earned runs Saturday while splitting a doubleheader with the Virginia Barnstormers, an elite traveling team of high school all-stars.
"Our pitching has been pretty consistent," said Szymanski. "We’ve been happy with the way our new guys have thrown strikes and kept our defense in the game."
The Skipjacks beat Virginia, 3-0,in Game 1 as Gary Blackledge, Newport, and Kyle Hayes combined on a one-hit shutout. Chesapeake scored an unearned run in the first inning and broke the game open with a two-run fifth that included Corriveau’s RBI single.
Virginia scored the only run in Game 2 on a sixth-inning throwing error. Skipjack pitchers Chris Custer, Jessie Savage, and Gregory combined on a six-hitter.
Szymanski said he appreciates playing the Barnstormers because it gives him an opportunity to see potential recruits in action. Tim St. Clair and Mike Kelch are among former Skipjack stars who once played for the Barnstormers and head coach Chris Warren.
"Coach Warren is a great coach and runs a great organization," said Szymanski. "We’re happy that he takes the time to play us."
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