’Jacks split with Anne Arundel
Game 2 loss relegates Chesapeake to three-team regional play-in
WYE MILLS Chesapeake College added another impressive baseball win to its resumé Monday afternoon with a 4-3 victory over Anne Arundel Community College while splitting a doubleheader with the Pioneers.
The Skipjacks who saw a seventh-inning comeback fizzle in an 8-6 loss in Game 2 won the opener as Ricky Brady lined a two-out, seventh-inning single to left off reliever Ryan Warwick to score Matt Schotanus with the winning run.
"Given the count (2-2), I figured he would try to slow it down," said the left-handed Brady, whose walk-off hit going the opposite way came off an off-speed pitch. "He left it a little over the outside corner and I just went with it."
"That was just clutch," Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski said of Brady’s hit. "They were pitching him away all day, and he was able to square the ball up and hit it where it was pitched."
Nik Nowottnick (6-3) was the Game 1 winner, throwing a complete-game four-hitter with six strikeouts, one walk and two hit batsmen. Only one of the runs allowed by Nowottnick was earned.
"I was in the zone," said Nowottnick. "From the time I got out here to the last pitch I was just locked in."
"Nik dominated in Game 1," said Szymanski. "He had great command of his fastball and off-speed pitches and we were able to overcome the errors in Game 1."
The Skipjacks (26-17 overall, 17-10 league) snapped Anne Arundel’s 10-game winning streak in the opener, but the Pioneers (39-14, 20-8) bounced back by building an 8-3 lead in the nightcap before hanging on for the win.
The Game 2 loss ended Chesapeake’s hopes for earning a bye into the NJCAA Division II Region XX Final Four. Instead, the Skipjacks learned Tuesday that they will participate Saturday in a three-team, single-elimination play-in at Potomac State College for a spot in the following weekend’s double-elimination Final Four.
Fourth-seeded Chesapeake will play fifth-seeded Hagerstown Community College Saturday at 11 a.m. with the winner playing third-seeded Potomac State 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Szymanski was upbeat about the Skipjacks’ post-season chances after sweeping Cecil, defeating Potomac State and splitting with the Pioneers in a 72-hour period.
"We feel really good about ourselves," said Szymanski. "We wanted to play this entire weekend like it was the playoffs and we did. The mentality and attitude we played with all weekend was a playoff attitude.
"We were able to prove to ourselves we are a pretty good team when we play together," added Szymanski. "It was fun. All the games were intense and they all mattered. That’s always one of our goals to play meaningful games in late April and May."
Chesapeake won Monday’s opener despite committing five errors. The Pioneers used unearned runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead, but Chesapeake answered with two runs in the bottom of the third.
"We were errorless in the Cecil doubleheader and against Potomac State," said Szymanski, who wasn’t overly concerned with the defensive miscues in Game 1. "It was one of those things where we broke down defensively, but our pitcher and hitters bailed us out."
Schotanus (3-for-3, three runs, three steals) singled with one out and scored on Kam Stewart’s triple to tie the game, 2-2. Brady then lifted a sacrifice fly that brought home Stewart to put the Skipjacks ahead.
Anne Arundel tied the game with a sixth-inning run as Braden Goughenour singled, went to second on an Edward Speakman sacrifice bunt, and scored the tying run on Charles Dailey’s two-out bloop single to center.
Schotanus started Chesapeake’s winning seventh-inning rally by singling up the middle on an 0-2 off-speed pitch from Warwick, who replaced starter Brooks Miller to open the seventh. Daily then made a diving catch on a Stewart blooper to right field before Schotanus stole second with Brady at the plate.
"Schotanus stealing that base to get into scoring position was critical," said Szymanski.
Brady (two RBI) then did the rest with his game-winning hit.
"It feels amazing," said Brady, whose team has now beaten three opponents with at least 33 wins this season.
Stewart went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and Kevin Loftis (double) went 2-for-3. Brendon Burch had an RBI.
Anne Arundel built an 8-3 lead in Game 2 with some clutch hitting. Cody Hines had an RBI double as part of a three-run first inning while Speakman and Samuel Myers had consecutive, run-scoring singles during a two-run third.
"We never gave in and never gave up," said Szymanski, whose team got the tying run to the on-deck circle in both the sixth and seventh innings. "We got down in a hole and tried to chip away. We just ran out of innings."
Glenn Watson was the winning pitcher, going 5 1/3 innings and leaving with an 8-4 lead and two runners on in the sixth. Warwick walked Ryan McCulley to load the bases before Schotanus hit into a run-scoring fielder’s choice and Stewart flew out to end the inning.
Brady doubled leading off the seventh, went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Burch lined out to deep right for a sacrifice fly. Warwick, however, induced consecutive groundouts by J.D. Donalds and Loftis to end the game.
Ethan Coffey took the loss, giving up four runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout while pitching the first inning of Game 2.
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