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Baseball

Chesapeake produces two more dramatic finishes
">’Jacks win and tie against Cecil, stay unbeaten in league

WYE MILLS – Jordan Gowe’s walk-off single to beat the College of Southern Maryland Friday afternoon was just the beginning of a dramatic weekend for Chesapeake College’s baseball team.

Zach Larson provided the Skipjacks with another walk-off win Saturday afternoon, walking with the bases loaded to drive in J.D. Donalds to earn a 4-3, nine-inning victory over visiting Cecil College in the first of what was supposed to be a pair of seven-inning contests.

The Skipjacks then overcame 4-0 and 5-3 deficits to escape with a 5-5 tie in the nightcap, which was called after seven innings due to darkness. Robert Potts capped a two-run seventh inning with a two-out, RBI double that scored Ryan Apodaca with the tying run.

"We wanted to play with a killer instinct and have each other’s back," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski, whose Skipjacks (2-4-1) are 2-0-1 in Maryland JuCo. "That’s the way we played all weekend."

Chesapeake used a three-run fourth off Cecil starter Paul Eyster to take a 3-1 lead in Game 1. Larson doubled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run on a Mike Russo groundout. Donalds added an RBI single later in the inning.

It stayed 3-1 until Cecil tied the game with a two-run seventh inning. Skipjack starter Nik Nowottnick, who threw five shutout innings after yielding a first-inning run, allowed the first two runners to reach to start the seventh before being replaced by Jake Yarber.

Yarber induced a double-play groundout that scored a run while getting the Skipjacks within an out of victory. Cecil’s William Flores (3-for-4) then drew the Seahawks even with a two-out, RBI single.

Chesapeake used three walks and a bunt single to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Cecil reliever Matt Klaczkidwicz walked the inning’s first two batters – Donalds and Frank Zare – before a Gowe fielder’s choice put runners at the corners. Skipjack reliever Ryan Nichols then bunted for a base hit to load the bases.

"Ryan had to hit for himself in the ninth because we no longer had the DH, and he got the bunt down for us when we needed it," said Szymanski. "Talk about versatility."

Klaczkidwicz struck out Dustin Farris before walking Larson to force in the winning run.

Nichols earned the win, allowing one hit with two strikeouts over the last two innings. Larson (two RBI), Donalds (RBI) and Yarber each had two hits for Chesapeake.

Cecil seemingly took control of the nightcap with a four-run third inning off Chesapeake starter David Cannon, who hit two batters with the bases loaded to force in runs and allowed another on an errant pickoff attempt. The Skipjacks, however, picked up one run in the home third on a throwing error by Cecil shortstop Flores, and pulled within 4-3 with a two-run sixth capped by Ricky Gerbino’s RBI single.

Morgan Barger’s run-scoring hit in the top of the seventh gave Cecil a 5-3 cushion, but the Skipjacks pulled even with two runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Gowe led off the home seventh with a single, went to second on an error, and scored on Ryan Apodaca’s RBI hit. Two strikeouts later, Potter doubled off Cecil reliever Sean Williams to score Apodaca with the tying run. Gerbino then flew out to end the game as the teams settled for the tie.

"Robert Potts not only had that clutch hit for us in the seventh, he also had one sensational catch and another three outstanding catches in center," said Szymanski.

Cannon went four innings, yielding six hits, two walks, four hit batsmen and four runs (three earned) with one strikeout. Royce Nichols allowed one run on three hits over the final three innings.

"Both brothers (Ryan and Royce Nichols) pitched well for us," said Szymanski.

Apodaca (two RBI) and Gowe each had two hits for Chesapeake in Game 2. Mike Kemp and Joe Buchko each went 3-for-4 for Cecil.

The Skipjacks leave Thursday for their annual Florida spring break trip.

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