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Chesapeake’s bats stay hot in sweep of Essex
Skipjacks pound out 25 hits, ready for ’biggest week of the year’

ESSEX – Chesapeake College pounded out 25 hits Saturday afternoon in sweeping CCBC-Essex, 14-2 and 14-10 – and even that doesn’t explain just how well the Skipjacks were hitting.

"We also had a lot of line drives that were caught, sacrifice flies that were deep and caught," noted Skipjacks head baseball coach Frank Szymanski. "We’re just concentrating at the plate and hitting the center of the ball. The way we’ve been hitting the ball has been extremely fun."

The Skipjacks (19-9 overall, 11-3 Maryland JuCo) hit so well that they made the doubleheader against Essex (16-11, 9-6) appear easier than it was, according to Szymanski.

"They’re a quality team," Szymanski said of the Knights. "They competed. The first game they made some mistakes and we hit the ball extremely hard and extremely well. They came back in the second game two or three times to make it real close."

Chesapeake used the sweep to stay two games behind Harford (28-7, 13-1) and CCBC-Catonsville (20-9-1, 10-1) in the loss column in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference race. The Skipjacks play Tuesday at Hagerstown (19-9, 6-9) and Thursday at Montgomery College Germantown (14-14, 5-3) before hosting Harford Saturday at noon in a critical doubleheader.

"This is definitely the biggest week of the season," said Szymanski, who emphasized the importance of "playing one game at a time."

"Right now, we have to focus on Hagerstown. That’s a seeding game," said Szymanski, noting both Chesapeake and Hagerstown are in NJCAA Division I Region XX. ’This is very important given where we want to be at the end of the year."

Saturday’s opener was never really close. Casey Joseph had a run-scoring single and Matt Schotanus delivered an RBI sacrifice fly during a three-run second inning, while Paxton Batson (2-for-2, double) and Ricky Brady (2-for-4, triple, two RBI) had RBI hits in the third to make it 5-0.

Chesapeake blew the game wide open with an eight-run fifth. Ryan Apodaca (2-for-3, two doubles) had a two-run double and Kevin Loftis added a two-run single during the fifth-inning fireworks.

Brendon Burch was the fourth Skipjack with two hits in the opener.

Jimmy Wix was the beneficiary of all that run support, scattering four hits over four innings with three walks and three strikeouts to earn the win. Nik Nowottnick struck out all three batters he faced in the fifth to close out the game.

The Skipjacks took control of Game 2 with a six-run third inning that gave Chesapeake a 7-2 lead. J.D. Donalds singled in the go-ahead run and Joel Rowe had a two-run triple later in the inning, scoring the final run himself on a wild pitch.

Essex pulled within 11-9, but Kam Stewart’s three-run double off reliever Greg Myers in the top of the seventh sealed the win.

Ryan Nichols was the winning pitcher, allowing eight runs (five earned) on nine hits in five innings with three strikeouts and five walks. Nowottnick pitched the final two innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits with two strikeouts and two walks to earn the save.

Schotanus (double, sacrifice fly, RBI), Burch (double, triple, two RBI, two stolen bases), Rowe (triple, two RBI), Donalds, and Joseph each had two hits for the Skipjacks.

Chesapeake 12, Allegany 10

CUMBERLAND – Spencer Gillis allowed just one unearned run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings of relief Thursday afternoon as the Skipjacks overcame a 9-2, first-inning deficit.

"It was definitely a game where we refused to lose," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski. "He (Gillis) came in and just held them down, we started playing better defense, and we were able to hit our way back in."

The Skipjacks used a three-run sixth inning to erase a 10-9 deficit and complete the comeback. Pat Ingham’s pinch-hit, two-run single put Chesapeake ahead to stay.

Matt Schotanus (3-for-5) and Brendon Burch (2-for-3, double, home run, two RBI) had multi-hit games for the Skipjacks.

Allegany 6, Chesapeake 3

CUMBERLAND – Jake Weibley went 3-for-3 and scored twice, and Danny Metz was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI Thursday afternoon as the Trojans won Game 2 to earn a doubleheader split.

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