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Skipjacks keep pace in tight state baseball race
Ninth-inning double play helps Chesapeake hold off Hawks, 5-3

LA PLATA – Shortstop Ricky Gerbino committed what could have been a game-changing error. Instead, he followed that up by starting a rally-killing double play as Chesapeake College held on for a 5-3 baseball victory Friday at the College of Southern Maryland.

"The error was a very difficult play," said Chesapeake College head coach Frank Szymanski of the ball Gerbino bobbled to give the Hawks a two-on, no-out threat in the bottom of the ninth. "The double play was key. For him to come right back with that to slow their momentum was absolutely crucial."

Chesapeake (16-15-1 overall, 11-3-1 league) remained in the thick of the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference title chase.

The Skipjacks trail CCBC-Catonsville (23-9, 14-1) and Frederick (29-2, 8-2) and are just ahead of Harford (26-8, 11-4). Chesapeake, which handed Frederick its first loss of the season, has another game with Frederick and two each with Catonsville and Harford remaining in head-to-head matchups with the title contenders.

"It’s another great race," said Szymanski, whose team has been in the race on the last day of the season each of the last two years before falling just short of a title.

Trailing 5-1, the Hawks opened the ninth with a hit by Brady Jameson before Gerbino’s error on a Jonathan Keeler grounder. After a walk to Tom Edwards loaded the bases, Nick Willoughby hit the grounder that Gerbino turned into a twin killing as Jameson scored to make it 5-2.

Keeler scored on another Skipjack error to pull the Hawks within 5-3, but winning pitcher Ryan Nichols induced Mailk Bob into a game-ending groundout.

"Ryan Nichols was the name of the game," said Szymanski of the freshman after he threw a complete-game four-hitter. "The defense, until the ninth inning, was also excellent."

The Skipjacks scored a run in the first on a Brendon Burch sacrifice fly and made it 2-0 in the second as Gerbino doubled and scored on a hit by Ryan Apodaca (2-for-3, run, RBI). Jake Yarber (2-for-3, two RBI) and Tucker Tobin (2-for-4, double, RBI) drove in sixth-inning runs to make it 4-0.

CSM (12-19, 5-14) scored once in the home sixth, but the Skipjacks got the run back on a Yarber RBI single in the eighth. That set the stage for the ninth-inning drama.

Hawks starter Donnie Sturgill took the loss.

Chesapeake 4, MC/Germantown 3

WYE MILLS – The extraordinary is starting to seem ordinary when it comes to Jordan Gowe and walk-off hits.

Gowe’s one-out double off the left-field wall scored Ryan Apodaca, who had walked, with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh Thursday as the Skipjacks pulled out another win in their last at bat.

"It’s either his third or fourth walk-off hit of the season," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski. "He’s a very clutch player who thrives in pressure situations."

Kevin Taney (3-for-4) tripled with two outs in the top of the seventh and scored on an error to pull Germantown into a 3-3 tie.

Chesapeake took a 2-0 lead with a two-run first inning that included a walk, an error, a hit batsman and J.D. Donalds’ RBI groundout. Germantown scored single runs in the second and third, including a game-tying homer by Shawn Hendon.

Skipjack Michael Russo doubled and scored on a Robert Potts double in the sixth to give Chesapeake a 3-2 lead.

David Cannon allowed seven hits, a walk and two earned runs with four strikeouts while pitching the first four innings for the Skipjacks. Cole Tyndall went the next 2 2/3, allowing two runs on two hits, and Spencer Gillis got the win after recording the final out in the top of the seventh.

MC/Germantown 10, Chesapeake 6

WYE MILLS – George Pierson went 2-for-4, including a three-run homer, and scored three times as the Gryphons (19-13, 7-9) salvaged a split of Thursday’s baseball doubleheader.

Pierson also started a one-out, fifth-inning rally in which seven straight Gryphons reached base – five with hits and two on Chesapeake errors – as part of a five-run outburst. Kevin Taney, finished off a 6-for-9 doubleheader, had a two-run double as part of the fifth-inning explosion against three Chesapeake pitchers.

They (Taney and Pierson) were very good all day," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski. "We played very sloppy defense in the fifth. There were some balls hit on which we usually make the play, but they (Germantown) capitalized on our errors."

Ricky Brady was 3-for-4 to lead Chesapeake’s nine-hit offense. Ricky Gerbino (run, two RBI) and Jordan Gowe (run, RBI) each had two hits for the Skipjacks.

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