Skipjacks freeze out Queensborough CC
Garvey, Bell earn pitching victories; Liddell, Turner slam home runs
WYE MILLS A bone-chilling cold and a brisk wind is no way to start a baseball season.
Or is it?
Chesapeake College swept Queensborough (N.Y.) Community College, 11-1 and 9-0, Saturday afternoon to open its spring (?) season in convincing style. Even more impressive, head coach Frank Szymanski made the weather conditions sound as enjoyable as a mild mid-May day.
"We were absolutely ecstatic to be out there in those conditions after being inside for seven or eight weeks," said Szymanski, referring to nearly two months of practice in the gym while waiting to get outside. "We were going to make sure we played that doubleheader no matter what the weather conditions."
While just getting outside was good news, Chesapeake’s pitching performances provided even better news for a team that began play with no returning pitcher who won more than two games last season.
Jake Garvey, a North Dorchester High grad who went 2-0 with a 3.71 earned-run average last year, allowed one hit over four innings with six strikeouts and no walks while winning the five-inning opener. Another sophomore, Gary Blackledge, allowed one run on one hit to finish up the combined two-hitter.
"Jake threw a couple of big games late in the season last year for us and was successful, so we handed him the ball in the opener and he really stepped it up," said Szymanski. "Jake had a really good outing. He was able to locate his fastball and curveball for strikes in adverse conditions."
Garvey benefited from plenty of offensive support as the Skipjacks finished with 11 hits in four innings off Queensborough pitcher Juan Gonzalez, who went the distance for the visitors.
Mike Turner put the Skipjacks in front to stay with a first-inning, run-scoring double and the Skipjacks broke the game open with an eight-run second inning. Mike Liddell’s two-run homer highlighted the second-inning outburst, which also included run-scoring doubles by Mathieu Vallieres and Derek Richards, and a two-run single from J.J. Corriveau.
Richards finished with two doubles in the second inning as the Skipjacks batted around. Corriveau (two runs, two stolen bases) and Adam Chambers each went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Game 2 was a virtual replay of Game 1, with the Skipjacks getting good pitching and plenty of offense.
Freshman Chris Bell allowed one hit and two walks while striking out five in four innings to get the win in his first collegiate game. Sophomore Ben Newport (three strikeouts, two walks) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings while freshman John Shobe (two strikeouts) pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings to complete the shutout.
"Chris Bell did a great job in his first college game. In fact, they all provided just really solid pitching in adverse conditions. Our game plan was to be around the plate throw strikes and limit our walks," said Szymanski. "And we played good defense behind them and made some good plays."
Chesapeake once again started fast offensively, with Vallieres leading off the home first with a triple and scoring on a Corriveau sacrifice fly. Andrew Markey added a two-run double later in what became a five-run first inning.
Turner (St. Michaels High) went 2-for-4, including a two-run homer, to highlight an eight-hit Skipjack attack.
While the Skipjacks were able to play Saturday’s doubleheader before the blizzard, they must now wait for the snow to thaw to play again. Thursday’s doubleheader against Lackawanna College has already been scrubbed while Saturday and Sunday’s scheduled twin bills against CCBC-Catonsville and Baltimore City Community College, respectively, are in the process of being cancelled.
"We’re looking for alternate sites," said Szymanski, whose team’s next scheduled game is currently next Tuesday at 3 p.m. against visiting College of Southern Maryland.
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