Gardner no-hitter highlights Skipjack sweep
Chesapeake College impressive in Region XX tourney tune-up
WYE MILLS You’ll have to excuse Devin Gardner if a potential no-hitter wasn’t on the top of his "to-do" list.
"We needed the win," said Gardner. "It was a close game all the way."
The Skipjacks sealed their win and Gardner finished off his no-hitter by striking out Kyle Lindstrom Friday afternoon to end Chesapeake College’s 2-0 victory over Delaware Technical and Community College/Owens Campus. Chesapeake (36-13) then drilled the Roadrunners, 8-2, to complete the sweep and allow the Skipjacks to take a five-game winning streak into this week’s Region XX tournament.
"This is how we need to be playing," said Gardner, a Kent Island High graduate who struck out 11 and yielded just two walks. "If we come out and play like this in the regional, we’re going to be tough to beat."
Zack Larson (2-for-3) hit a fourth-inning solo homer off Del Tech reliever Mark Shoff to break a scoreless tie and Brent Poullard singled home John Northam in the fifth to account for all of the Game 1 scoring. Gardner, meanwhile, was perfect until issuing consecutive walks to start the seventh.
Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski said he gave no thought to lifting Gardner (7-1) after the walks put the tying runs on base with no outs.
"His pitch count was low and it was his game," said Szymanski. "I had all the confidence in the world in him. I knew he’d get out of the jam."
Szymanski’s confidence was rewarded when Luis Barrientos hit into a double play and Gardner struck out Lindstrom to end the game.
Anthony Ragos (2-for-4, three stolen bases) joined Larson as Skipjacks with two hits in Game 1 while Frankie Zare had a triple.
Chesapeake overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits in Game 2, taking control with a three-run third highlighted by Larson’s two-run, go-ahead double and Tommy Gilchrist’s RBI single. Mike Turner’s three-run, fourth-inning homer broke the game open.
Larson (3-for-3, double, triple, three RBI, one run) and Poullard (3-for-4, three runs) were the only Skipjacks with multiple hits in the nightcap. Larson was 5-for-6 with two singles, a double, a triple, a home run, four RBI and two runs during the doubleheader.
"Zack had a great day," said Szymanski. "He’s the type of kid who goes all-out every game and every practice."
Anthony Butler went 3-for-3 and scored a run to lead the Roadrunners (24-20) in Game 2.
Reliever Joe Garrity earned the victory, allowing no runs on two hits and a hit batsman with four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. Starter Danny Abdalla gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings, while Chris Shaklee allowed a hit and struck out two while pitching the seventh.
The Skipjacks, who rallied from six runs down to post a 12-11 win at Del Tech earlier this season, went 3-0 against the traditional Region XIX power this season. Chesapeake, which set a school record for regular-season wins, opens the double-elimination NJCAA Division I Region XX tournament against a New York team to be determined this weekend Friday at 10 a.m. at Hagerstown Community College.
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