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Baseball

’Jacks cap weekend with Sunday sweep
Chesapeake strikes early in MCCC opener, late in nightcap

WYE MILLS – The Skipjacks struck early and late Sunday afternoon in order to sweep a baseball doubleheader from Montgomery County (Pa.) Community College, 7-3 and 5-4.

Chesapeake College delivered a quick knock-out blow in the opener, putting together a five-run first inning built around Chris Bodnar’s three-run homer. The key moment came much later in the nightcap as Derek Richards broke a 4-4, fifth-inning tie with a two-out, run-scoring single to cap a very successful weekend for the Skipjacks (27-11).

Chesapeake routed Region XX rival Potomac State College, 8-2, on Friday and split a Saturday league doubleheader with CCBC-Essex. While Montgomery County doesn’t play in either the Skipjacks’ league or region, Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski said Sunday’s sweep was still important as his team preps for the upcoming regional tournament.

"Those were two very competitive games," said Szymanski. "Any time you play, you want to play well and win, and we were able to do that."

Sophomore Gary Blackledge (4-0) won the opener, giving up just two runs while spacing six hits over 5 1/3 innings.

"Gary turned in another outstanding performance," Szymanski said of Blackledge, who struck out four without walking a batter. "He went right after hitters – no walks – and the defense was very solid behind him."

Reliever Billy Felo became the 10th Skipjack to earn a pitching victory in the nightcap while throwing two scoreless innings. He replaced Chesapeake starter Mike Turner with two outs in the fifth after the Mustangs had tied the game, 4-4, and put the potential go-ahead run on base.

"We have some depth on our pitching staff this year," noted Szymanski. "Billy really came in and did a great job for us. I couldn’t be happier with his performance."

The five-run first against losing pitcher Tom Brown, which also included run-scoring singles from Turner and Mike Liddell, put the Skipjacks in control of the opener.

Chesapeake took a 5-4 lead in the nightcap when Chris Bell doubled and scored on Richards’ hit. Bell finished 3-for-3 in Game 2 with two runs.

The Mustangs threatened in the seventh as Chris Caracappa led off with a single and moved to second on Jack Brucker’s sacrifice. After Felo induced Ryan Mitchell into a pop-out for the second out, Szymanski brought in closer Ben Newport to face Chris Connor.

Newport hit Connor, putting the potential go-ahead run on base, but then struck out Cory Mitchell to end the game and earn a save.

Danny Ladd (2-for-3, double, RBI) joined Bell as Skipjacks with multiple hits.

The Skipjacks head back into league play this week with six conference games, starting with 3 p.m. home games against Hagerstown Community College on Tuesday and Montgomery College/Germantown on Thursday.

Chesapeake plays noon doubleheaders at Harford Community College on Saturday and at Garrett College on Sunday. The Garrett doubleheader and Tuesday’s game with Hagerstown are doubly important, also counting in the Region XX standings, but Szymanski isn’t allowing the Skipjacks to get ahead of themselves.

"We’re going to take them one game at a time and try to focus on what we need to do to play well," said Szymanski.

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