Athletics News

Baseball

’Jacks beat Hagerstown, ousted by AACC
Chesapeake pulls one final baseball upset before season’s end

ARNOLD – The Skipjacks had one final upset left in them.

It wasn’t quite as impressive as knocking off the No. 1 baseball team in the nation – twice – by sweeping Frederick Community College this year. However, Chesapeake College’s final upset came in a much more crucial situation, with the sixth-seeded Skipjacks blanking fifth-seeded Hagerstown Community College, 2-0, Saturday in the NJCAA Division I Region XX play-ins.

Fourth-seeded Anne Arundel Community College avoided becoming another upset victim with a 2-0 win over the Skipjacks later in the day. By virtue of that victory, Anne Arundel advanced to next weekend’s double-elimination Region XX Final Four.

Hagerstown (32-22) swept Chesapeake (21-26-1) in the regular season, and the Skipjacks came into the regional tournament with an 0-8 record against the tourney field. Even so, Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski said no one should be surprised by his team’s final win.

"We’ve been competitive almost every game this season," said Szymanski, whose team dropped 7-5 and 9-6 decisions to Hagerstown in the regular season. "It just felt good to be on the winning side today against Hagerstown."

Both of Saturday’s games were scoreless duels until the sixth inning. The Skipjacks broke through with single runs in the sixth and seventh to beat Hagerstown, then saw their season end as Anne Arundel put together a two-out, two-run rally in sixth inning of Game 2.

Kevin Loftis (2-for-4) started Chesapeake’s sixth-inning rally against Hagerstown with a one-out single off Hawk starter Cole Sellers. After Tucker Tobin (2-for-4) singled Loftis to second, Jake Yarber delivered a two-out, RBI hit for the game’s first run.

Reliever Colby Fisher hit consecutive batters – Ryan Apodaca and Jordan Gowe (2-for-4) – to start the seventh. Apodaca went to third on a Mike Russo lineout to center and scored the insurance run on a wild pitch.

Winning pitcher Richie McMahon allowed four hits and two walks along with one hit batsman in 7-plus innings with five strikeouts. Ryan Nichols (two strikeouts, one hit allowed) pitched the final two innings for the save, bailing McMahon out of an eighth-inning jam by getting the first hitter he faced, Jordan Thurber, to ground into a double play before Tyler Walks grounded out to end the threat.

In Game 2, Ricky Romero started Anne Arundel’s sixth-inning rally with a two-out double off Skipjack starter Nik Nowottnick. After a walk to Jason Gatz, Shane Troyer singled in Romero with Gatz scoring on the same play after an errant throw.

Nowottnick went 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits with two strikeouts, one walk, and one hit batsman. Ryan Nichols pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings in relief.

Winning pitcher Lee Murril, who went the first eight innings, and Jason Schoolen combined on a five-hitter for Anne Arundel. Schoolen got out of a ninth-inning jam, striking out Zach Larson for the final out with runners on second and third.

"Both games could have gone either way," said Szymanski. "The games were competitive. Everyone was into it; it was fun – and very tight."

While this was the first time in nine seasons that the Skipjacks finished with a losing record, Szymanski was "pleased with everyone’s effort."

"The players showed a great commitment to the college and to the team," said Szymanski. "And we learned a lot through the course of the season."

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