’Jacks sweep Essex before 1-0 loss to Pot State
Chesapeake improves to 9-2-1 in league, but drops Region XX opener
WYE MILLS The Knights are to be forgiven if they thought they were seeing double in Saturday’s baseball doubleheader at Chesapeake College.
Twins Ryan and Royce Nichols each picked up a pitching victory as the Skipjacks twice struck for the winning run during a fifth-inning rally against CCBC-Essex. Chesapeake’s four-run fifth in a 6-3 victory gave reliever Ryan Nichols the Game 1 win, and Royce Nichols yielded just three hits over six innings as the Skipjacks claimed a 4-3 triumph in the nightcap.
"They pounded the strike zone, changed speeds, and we played excellent defense behind them," Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski said of the twins after the Skipjacks (14-14-1) improved to 9-2-1 in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference.
Richie McMahon was just as tough, if not as fortunate, in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Potomac State College. McMahon struck out six while allowing only four hits and three walks over six innings, but Jason Driver’s two-out single in the fourth scored Dave McNeill with the game’s only run.
PSC’s Andy Smithmyer outdueled McMahon, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out 10 in the complete-game shutout.
"All three games were well-played and very competitive," Szymanski said after Sunday’s loss, which was Chesapeake’s first Region XX contest of the season. "All three could have easily gone the other way. We had a lot of fun this weekend we were competing and it was excellent baseball."
Chesapeake had eight baserunners against Smithmyer, but hit into a pair of double plays with runners on first and second. Ricky Gerbino grounded into a fifth-inning twin killing and J.D. Donalds hit into a game-ending double play. "It was so well-played by both teams pitching, defense and they got the timely hit," said Szymanski. "We had a couple of opportunities to tie the game and we weren’t able to capitalize."
In Saturday’s opener, Chesapeake erased a 2-1 deficit with its four-run fifth.
Jordan Gowe (2-for-3, two runs) singled, went to second on an error, and scored the tying run on Zach Larson’s single. Ricky Brady then singled and Tucker Tobin reached on an infield error that plated Larson (3-for-4, double, triple, two RBI) with the go-ahead run off Essex starter Eric Ryan.
Ryan exited after walking Donalds. Brendon Burch then scored Brady with a sacrifice fly off reliever Jason Creighton to make it 4-2. Frank Zare then walked and Robert Potts hit a sacrifice fly to score Tobin with the inning’s final run.
Starter Nik Nowottnick went 4 1/3 innings with one strikeout, three walks and six hits allowed. Ryan Nichols went the final 2 2/3 innings with two strikeouts, two hits and one walk allowed.
"Jordan (Gowe) got something started and then a lot of people came through," said Szymanski, whose team finished with eight hits. "It was a big inning for us in a tight game."
Essex scored three times in the third, wiping out a 1-0 deficit in Game 2, as Brandon Hartman delivered a run-scoring double and scored on Michael Cieary’s two-run single. Chesapeake tied the game by scoring twice in the home third as Mike Russo’s two-out single scored Donalds with the tying run.
Brady led off the fifth with a single and scored the winning run on a two-out double by Tobin (2-for-3).
Royce Nichols went the first six innings with five strikeouts, two walks, three hits and no earned runs allowed. Jake Yarber struck out one while pitching a perfect seventh for the save.
Gowe went 3-for-4 to lead Chesapeake’s 10-hit attack.
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