Woolford sparks Skipjacks in Garrett sweep
Game 1’s winning pitcher wins Game 2 with walk-off single
WYE MILLS Bryan Woolford did a little bit of everything Saturday afternoon.
Woolford combined with Chris Custer on a three-hitter as Chesapeake College’s baseball team blanked Garrett College, 2-0, in the first game of a critical Region XX doubleheader. Woolford then finished off the Lakers in Game 2, grounding a one-out, bases-loaded single through the infield in the bottom of the seventh to score pinch-runner Chris Beaver with the winning run in a 2-1 victory.
"I was trying to put the ball in the air, but then with two strikes I just wanted to put it in play," said Woolford. "I wanted to get the run in for Evan (Ford). He pitched a heck of a game."
Indeed he did. Ford pitched a complete-game two-hitter, striking out six and walking three as the Skipjacks claimed both home-field advantage and a first-round bye in next Saturday’s NJCAA Division I Region XX play-in. Garrett and Anne Arundel Community College will play Saturday’s first game, with the winner playing Chesapeake for the last spot in the double-elimination regional final four.
"These were important wins for a lot of reasons," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski, whose team improved to 18-6 in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference and 28-12-1 overall. "Obviously, it was important for seeding purposes for next week’s play-in, but we also wanted to continue playing well and keep the momentum going."
The Skipjacks have now gone five straight games without allowing more than two runs, with Ford’s gem the latest quality pitching performance. Ford took a no-hitter into the fifth, then worked through jams the last three innings to keep the Skipjacks in the game until Woolford’s walk-off single.
"The key was just hitting spots," said Ford. "Every once in a while I changed speeds, but for the most part I just threw fastballs and hit my spots."
The Skipjacks took a 1-0 lead in Game 2 when Derek Richards led off the home third with a walk and eventually scored on J.T. Gregory’s two-out single. Garrett (18-23-1, 7-12-1) tied the game in the fifth as David Angle broke up Ford’s no-hitter with a leadoff double, took third on an error, and scored on Chris Palmer’s sacrifice bunt.
Richards, who started Chesapeake’s third-inning rally with a walk, led off the home seventh by poking a 1-2 pitch from reliever Reed Alfiari into center field.
"I was just trying to put it in play," said Richards. "I knew I had to get on. These were important games after the two losses to Hagerstown (by identical 2-1 scores)."
Jake Garvey then bunted pinch runner Chris Beaver to second base, and Beaver went to third on a single by J.J. Corriveau (2-for-3, walk).
Garrett head coach Eric Hallenbeck then opted to walk Gregory to load the bases for Woolford. The strategy looked good when Woolford fouled off the first two pitches, but not so good when he delivered his game-winning hit.
"Beating them twice should give us a lot of confidence (heading into the regional play-in)," said Woolford.
Garrett starter Juan Kreider allowed five hits over 5 2/3 innings. Alfiari yielded three hits in the seventh while officially pitching 2/3 of an inning.
Mike Liddell went 3-for-3 with a double for the Skipjacks.
Chesapeake scored all of Game 1’s runs on Jake Garvey’s two-run, second-inning single. The rest of the game belonged to the Skipjacks’ pitchers and defense.
Woolford allowed three hits and five walks while striking out eight in 4 1/3 innings. Custer (four strikeouts) quelled a fifth-inning rally by getting an inning-ending double play and retired all seven batters he faced for the save.
Gregory went 2-for-2 with a walk and scored a run.
Notes: The Skipjacks’ three straight league wins since Wednesday’s doubleheader loss to first-place Hagerstown keeps them on the fringe of the state title race. Hagerstown still had only three league losses as of Saturday while Cecil College had five and four teams Chesapeake, CCBC-Catonsville, Allegany College, and Frederick Community College had six. . .
Potomac State College of West Virginia University finished unbeaten in games among Region XX teams with Hagerstown (5-3) second. The New York champion will be seeded third in the regional tournament behind PSC and Hagerstown, with Chesapeake (4-4 in region games), Anne Arundel (2-6), and Garrett (1-7) fighting for the fourth slot in their three-team play-in. . .
Chesapeake finished 4-0 against Garrett and Anne Arundel in the regular season, but Anne Arundel has a win against Hagerstown to its credit.
"It’s very important, from a confidence standpoint after the Hagerstown losses, that we came back to beat Garrett and finish with four wins in the region," said Szymanski. "I really believe the regional tournament is going to be extremely competitive."
Chesapeake College 16, College of Southern Maryland 1
LA PLATA Chris Beaver and Andrew Markey each had three hits, while Markey and Bryan Woolford each hit home runs as the Skipjacks banged out 16 hits against the overmatched Hawks.
Beaver was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, four RBI, three stolen bases and a walk. Markey (3-for-4, two runs, two RBI, walk) was nearly as busy on the bases, while Woolford had two hits, two runs, two walks, and drove in four runs.
Frank McRae (two runs, three RBI, double, stolen base) and Brian Brown (two runs, double, walk) each went 2-for-4. J.J. Corriveau had a hit, two walks, scored two runs and drove in another.
Chris Flerlage earned the win, allowing one run on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Gary Blackledge pitched a scoreless seventh with one strikeout.
The game was stopped after seven innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
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