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Chesapeake College faces a high-stakes week
State title, high region seeding within ’Jacks’ grasp as Hagerstown, Garrett visit

There may have been a more important week in the history of Chesapeake College’s baseball program, but one would be hard-pressed to identify it.

The Skipjacks (25-10-1 overall, 15-4 Maryland JuCo) find themselves in the thick of both a state title race and a scramble for postseason seeding this week. Second-place Chesapeake hosts first-place Hagerstown Community College (25-12-1, 13-3) Tuesday in a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader that could eventually decide the state title. That doubleheader and the Skipjacks’ noon twin bill Saturday against visiting Garrett College (18-18-1, 7-8-1) count in both the state and NJCAA Region XX Division I standings.

"It’s exciting," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski, whose Skipjacks swept Community College of Baltimore County-Essex, 6-5 and 9-5, Saturday afternoon. "This is the opportunity that we’ve worked so hard for all season. We just want to keep playing well and put ourselves in a position to play for a state championship and a high post-season seeding."

After Saturday’s games, seven teams remain in the thick of the state title race with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season. Hagerstown, Chesapeake, Cecil College (25-8-1, 16-4-1), CCBC-Catonsville (19-11, 13-4), Allegany College of Maryland (21-13, 12-5), Frederick Community College (25-12, 10-5), and Montgomery College/Germantown (29-7, 13-7) all retain state championship hopes.

As if that wasn’t enough, Chesapeake’s games with Hagerstown and Garrett will go a long way toward determining if the Skipjacks can avoid having to participate in the play-in to reach the Region XX tournament.

Unbeaten Potomac State College has locked up the No. 1 seed and the New York champion will be seeded third in the regional as long as that team has a winning record. Hagerstown (3-3 in region games), Chesapeake (2-2), and Anne Arundel (2-3) are all still hoping to earn the second seed so as to avoid the three-team playoff with Garrett (1-5) that will determine the fourth team in the double-elimination regional tournament.

"We have to play one game at a time, not really concentrate on the race but concentrate on the game and what we need to do to continue playing well," said Szymanski, whose team has now won 25 games or more in five straight seasons. "We just have to play every game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series."

The Skipjacks sandwich a single game Thursday at the College of Southern Maryland, which counts in the state standings but not in the region, between the Hagerstown and Garrett doubleheaders.

Chesapeake 6, CCBC-Essex 5

ESSEX – Pitcher J.T. Gregory and shortstop Bryan Woolford executed a pickoff play at second base to end the sixth inning and help preserve the Skipjacks’ victory in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Alex Clatterbuck had just singled to score a run, the second of the inning to pull Essex within 6-5, and gone to second base on the throw home.

"Essex had been taking big leads all day and we thought we had a chance to pick him (Clatterbuck) off," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski. "J.T. and Bryan executed the play perfectly."

Woolford (2-for-3) and Andrew Markey each drove in two runs, while Dillon Talley went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Skipjacks.

Evan Ford was the winning pitcher, allowing three runs on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in five innings. Gregory yielded two hits and a walk over the final two innings.

Losing pitcher Ross Podbielski allowed eight hits over six innings.

Chesapeake blew out to a 4-0 lead with a three-run second inning that included a run-scoring double by Woolford, an RBI single from Markey, and a J.J. Corriveau groundout that scored a run.

Chesapeake 9, CCBC-Essex 5

ESSEX – Tony Mitchell went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI Saturday as the Skipjacks completed a doubleheader sweep.

Jake Garvey also had two doubles while J.T. Gregory drove in two runs for Chesapeake.

Mitchell and Gregory each had run-scoring singles in a three-run third inning that broke a 1-1 tie.

Greg Snyder earned the victory despite pitching just two-thirds of an inning in relief of starter Bryan Woolford, who went the first three innings. Ben Newport earned a save with 3 1/3 innings with a walk, a strikeout and four hits allowed.

Chesapeake 11, Hopkins JV 3

BALTIMORE – J.V. Herbert went 5-for-6 with three RBI Friday as the Skipjacks avenged an earlier loss to Johns Hopkins University’s junior varsity.

Winning pitcher Chris Flerlage allowed three runs on six hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. Only two of the three runs he allowed were earned. Jessie Savage pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and two walks.

Andrew Markey (three RBI) and Bryan Woolford (home run, RBI) each had two hits.

Del. Tech 13, Chesapeake 3

GEORGETOWN, Del. – Brain Green went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI Thursday to pace the Roadrunners.

Tony Mitchell went 2-for-4 and drove in a run, while Bryan Woolford and Chris Custer had two hits each for the Skipjacks. Losing pitcher Kurt Bruce gave up seven runs – five of them earned – on eight hits, two walks and five hit batsmen in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two.

Notes: The Skipjacks also picked up a double-forfeit Sunday from Prince George’s Community College, which is playing as a club team this year.

A pivotal Sunday doubleheader between Hagerstown and Cecil was rained out and will have to be rescheduled.

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