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Baseball

Skipjacks end spring trip on high note
Chesapeake tops Oakton in 12 innings on Gowe’s two-run triple

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – After a week filled with one-run losses, Chesapeake College’s baseball team finished its spring break trip to Florida with a dramatic 5-4, 12-inning win over Oakton Community College.

Oakton scored a run in the top of the 12th to break a 3-3 tie, but the Skipjacks strung together three straight hits in the bottom half of the inning to earn the victory. Frank Zare and Ryan Apodaca hit consecutive, one-out singles to set up Jordan Gowe’s game-winning, two-run triple.

The triple was Gowe’s second walk-off hit of the season. His pinch-hit single defeated the College of Southern Maryland in Chesapeake’s conference opener.

"Clutch players step up in clutch times," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski. "Jordan Gowe really got the big hit that we needed along with the hits by Frank and Ryan to keep the inning alive."

Chesapeake (5-10-1) concluded its trip with a 3-6 record and four one-run losses – including three by identical 3-2 scores. Szymanski said the Oakton win allowed the Skipjacks to leave Florida on a high note.

"We were competitive all week and finally got the results that we wanted," said Szymanski. "It felt really good to get that win – I’m relieved and happy for the team."

While Chesapeake won the game with an offensive flurry in the bottom half of the 12th, it was the Skipjacks’ defense that kept extending the game.

Robert Potts made an over-the-shoulder catch in left with a runner on first in the 10th inning, holding onto the ball even after hitting the fence. Right fielder Zach Larson, who threw out a runner attempting to go first-to-third on a ninth-inning hit, then made a spectacular, diving catch in the 11th inning.

"We made some great plays to keep ourselves in the game," said Szymanski.

Down 1-0, the Skipjacks put together a three-run third. Zare (2-for-5) reached on an error and advanced to second on Apodaca’s sacrifice bunt. After Gowe walked, Larson reached on an infield hit. Both Zare and Apodaca scored on a throwing error on Larson’s hit, and Larson came home on a sacrifice fly by Ricky Brady (2-for-4).

Oakton tied the game on Derek Shoman’s two-run single in the eighth and seemingly took control on a run-scoring single by Matt Perez in the top of the 12th.

Ethan Coffey pitched the first six innings for Chesapeake, allowing one run on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Cole Kyndall then pitched 5 1/3 innings, striking out three while allowing three runs on seven hits.

Spencer Gillis was the winning pitcher, getting the final two outs in the top of the 12th to set up the Skipjacks’ game-winning rally.

While he would have liked to have won a few more of those one-run decisions, Szymanski said the trip accomplished its purpose.

"We got a lot of at bats and we were able to play a lot of people to find out who is capable of helping us in the conference and in the region," said Szymanski. "You can’t beat the preparation provided by playing excellent competition."

Notes: The Skipjacks dropped a 4-3 exhibition game against the Toronto Mets earlier Wednesday. Chesapeake’s final four Florida contests, including the exhibition game, were each decided by one run.

The Skipjacks dropped one-run decisions to both Genesee Community College (3-2) and Oakton (10-9) on Tuesday. . . .

Chesapeake hosts Baltimore City Community College Sunday in a noon doubleheader and Frederick Community College on Tuesday in a 3 p.m. single game. All three games are Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference contests.

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