No. 1 undone
Skipjacks end Frederick’s 22-game winning streak
WYE MILLS Playing the top-ranked baseball team in the country is a rare opportunity so the Skipjacks decided to make the most of it.
Chesapeake College overcame a 4-0 deficit Tuesday afternoon to shock previously unbeaten Frederick Community College, 9-6, ending the Cougars’ 22-game winning streak. The Skipjacks (7-11-1 overall, 3-0-1 league) beat a Frederick team that came into the game with a 75-7 record over the past two seasons, providing the Skipjacks with the biggest regular-season victory in head coach Frank Szymanski’s 12 years at the helm.
"It feels really good for this team because of the way this season’s been," said Szymanski, whose team has lost five one-run games so far this season. "This is why we go to Florida and play all those difficult teams to get ready for meaningful state and region games."
Reliever Richie McMahon allowed just three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts over seven strong innings to earn the victory. Chesapeake’s offense produced 14 hits against three Cougar pitchers as Jordan Gowe (three RBI), Ricky Brady (two RBI) and J.D. Donalds each banged out three hits.
"The defense was great and the guys just came to hit today," said McMahon. "We made a statement ’Chesapeake’s here.’ "
Chesapeake and CCBC-Catonsville (13-6, 6-0) are now the only unbeaten teams in Maryland JuCo play.
"We talk about playing meaningful games and today was a meaningful game, not just because of their ranking (No. 1 in NJCAA Division II) but because this was a conference game," said Szymanski.
Frederick tried to go for a quick knockout, scoring four times in the top of the first inning as Tim McCormick slammed a two-run homer and Mike Hnatuck delivered a two-run single. The Skipjacks, however, responded with a three-run rally in the bottom half of the first capped by Brendon Burch’s two-run single to set the tone for the game.
"One of the keys was getting right back into the game. That gave us some confidence to build on the rest of the game," said Szymanski.
The Cougars scored a run in the top of the third to take a 5-3 lead and knock Chesapeake starter Royce Nichols out of the game, but Brady’s solo homer in the bottom half of the frame got the Skipjacks back within a run. Chesapeake then took the lead for good with a two-run fourth as Gowe singled in the tying run and Zach Larson plated the go-ahead score.
After Chesapeake’s Tucker Tobin and Frederick’s Tyler Shover traded solo homers, Gowe hit a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh to give the Skipjacks a 9-6 cushion. That was plenty of insurance the way McMahon was pitching.
"He was fantastic just an outstanding effort," Szymanski said of McMahon. "He had a total command of the strike zone and pitched with a lot of poise and confidence."
McCormick, Hnatuck and Tyler Stover each had two hits for the Cougars, who finished with just seven hits.
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