Shivering Skipjacks sweep doubleheader
Szymanski hails team for surviving ’worst conditions’ coach can recall
ROCKVILLE Spring sports and winter weather are a challenging combination.
"Those were the worst conditions I’ve ever been involved in for a baseball game," said Chesapeake College head baseball coach Frank Szymanski after his shivering Skipjacks swept a doubleheader from host Montgomery College/Rockville Campus Saturday afternoon.
"I was so proud of our boys," said Szymanski, whose team rolled to a 17-9 victory in Game 1 and hung on for an 11-10 win in the nightcap. "They just battled through it. The temperature, with wind chill, had to be in the 20s. It had to be that low."
Szymanski said last Tuesday’s chilly weather for a season-opening win at Delaware Tech paled in comparison to Saturday’s conditions.
"Today (Saturday) was 10 times worse than Tuesday," said Szymanski. "It was just unbelievable. Our guys just stayed together and played hard through these conditions."
Anthony Archie went 5-for-5 with two doubles, two stolen bases and four RBI to spark a 15-hit attack in Game 1. Four Skipjacks had two hits apiece in the nightcap, which was called after five innings due to darkness.
Chesapeake (3-0 overall, 2-0 Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference) took control of the opener with a four-run second inning that wiped out a 2-1 Rockville advantage. Rockville shortstop Tim Robinson’s bases-loaded, two-out error let in two runs, breaking a 2-2 tie, and pitcher Nic Slahetka walked consecutive hitters to force in another run.
Mike Garrett had a run-scoring single in a two-run third that extended Chesapeake’s lead to 7-2. Rockville hung in the game until the top of the seventh, when the Skipjacks scored seven times to break open a 10-8 game.
Archie had a two-run single and a run-scoring double in that seventh-inning outburst.
Chesapeake’s Barry Fetter was 3-for-5 while teammate Brad Brainer went 2-for-3 with three RBI including a two-run, sixth-inning homer in the opener. Will Delawter was 2-for-5 and drove in a run.
Three Chesapeake pitchers allowed 12 hits. Starter Nick Lemmer yielded four runs three earned on seven hits and three walks while striking out one. He left with the lead, but only lasted 3 2/3 innings and didn’t qualify for the win.
Reliever Justin Selgenhouer followed Lemmer and got the victory, giving up one run on one hit and three walks while striking out one in an inning. Chris Majerowicz went the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and two walks with one strikeout.
The nightcap started weirdly as Brainer hit a pop fly to center and, three errors later, finished the play by scoring. That set the stage for a seven-run first inning off Rockville starter Cody Fear, who lasted only one inning while allowing five hits and seven runs (six of them earned).
Fear gave up a two-run single to Chris Cirillo (2-for-3) along with RBI hits by Delawter (2-for 4), Brainer (2-for-3), Mike Kelch (2-for-4) and Justin Armiger.
Rockville, however, bounced back with six runs in the bottom half of the inning off Chesapeake starter Joey Sable, who managed just 1 2/3 innings. He gave up three walks, three hits, and seven earned runs while striking out two. Pat Aragon (2-for-4) and Gerardo Hernandez (2-for-4) each had doubles in Rockville’s six-run first.
The Skipjacks led the whole way, but had only an 11-9 cushion heading to the bottom of the fifth with darkness approaching.
Reliever Joe Garrity struck out the first two batters, but Tim Robinson single to keep the game going and scored on Hernandez’s second double of the game to make it 11-10. John Pickett then sent a fly ball to center that Brainer ran down for the final out.
Brainer finished the doubleheader 4-for-6 with four RBI and a home run.
"Brad Brainer had a great day offensively and defensively," said Szymanski. "He made five or six plays at third in the opener. Then in the second game he was able to catch that ball in the dark to end the game."
Garrity, meanwhile, spaced seven hits over 3 1/3 innings with one walk and four strikeouts to earn the victory in Game 2.
"He (Garrity) stepped it up," said Szymanski. "He was very confident he could get his breaking pitch over. He kept our defense on its toes, and our defense did a good job behind him."
Notes: The Skipjacks, ranked fifth nationally in NJCAA Division II by Collegiate Baseball, are not ranked in the NJCAA’s official Division II poll despite returning 13 players from last year’s 40-18 squad that finished fifth in the World Series.
Cecil Community College is ranked ninth, while Chesapeake and Frederick Community College were relegated to the "Others Receiving Votes" category. Szymanski said he told the Skipjacks to forget the slight.
"Everybody knows that we have to prove ourselves every game, and that’s it," said Szymanski. "We’re not worried about the first poll we’re worried about the last one."
Szymanski said the Skipjacks will "have a big challenge" Thursday when they host Community College Baltimore County-Catonsville in their 3 p.m. home opener. Chesapeake upset Catonsville in last year’s Region XX tournament on the way to region and district championships.
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