Focus on Sports
’Jacks aim to build on record regular season

Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2005

DUNDALK, May 9 – Chesapeake College smashed the school record for victories during a 32-15 baseball regular season that finished with the team ranked 14th in the nation in NJCAA Division II. The Skipjacks hope to also set a new standard for postseason success, starting Tuesday in the NJCAA Division II Region XX sub-regional at Community College Baltimore County-Dundalk.

The sixth-seeded Skipjacks take on seventh-seeded Frederick Community College (23-19-1) Tuesday at 11 a.m. in a play-in game. The winner will face third-seeded host CCBC-Dundalk (22-21-1) at 2:30 p.m., with the survivor advancing to this weekend’s four-team, double-elimination Region XX championship tournament.

Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski characterized the sub-regional as "a difficult draw" for the Skipjacks despite having swept a regular-season doubleheader from Frederick last month.

"They’re a quality ball club. We’re obviously going to have to play well in order to beat them," said Szymanski. "It’s a tough draw, but we’re looking forward to it."

Chesapeake has won in the play-in round each of the last three seasons only to lose the second game each time. Skipjacks head coach Frank Szymanski said his team will take the tournament "one game at a time" in a bid to reach the double-elimination championship draw for the first time in school history.

Szymanski has both sophomore Bryan Brainer (4-2) – who no-hit Frederick last month while pitching a 6-0 shutout – and unbeaten sophomore Matt Fitzgerald (5-0) available to start against Frederick. As of noon Monday Szymanski had not made a final decision, but noted he wouldn’t save any pitcher for a possible second-round match-up with Dundalk.

"There’s a rule in the playoffs – you can’t look ahead to the next opponent. You have to worry about who you’re playing now," said Szymanski. "We’re focusing on Frederick."

While Chesapeake swept Frederick in the regular season, the Skipjacks were swept by CCBC-Dundalk, which is coached by former Chesapeake assistant coach Jason King.

Despite the 32-15 record, the Skipjacks don’t take a lot of momentum into the tournament after closing the regular season with seven losses in their final 11 games. Szymanski, however, said he expects his team to be ready.

"We played 11 games in the final seven days, and everyone hung in there until the final out," said Szymanski. "We’re going to be ready."

While Chesapeake was swept Sunday by state champion Allegany College of Maryland, 17-14 and 6-5, the Skipjacks showed they are capable of playing with the top teams in the state and region. Allegany, the top seed in Division II Region XX, had to rally from an 8-1 deficit to win the opener, then had to survive a three-run seventh by the Skipjacks to claim the nightcap.

"The first one got away from us," said Szymanski, whose team chased Trojan starter Patrick McKitrick as part of an eight-run first inning in which McKitrick failed to record an out while facing seven batters. "The second one we never gave up – we battled to the end."

Allegany College 17, Chesapeake College 14

WYE MILLS – The Skipjacks pounded out 20 hits, but couldn’t hold a seven-run lead against the newly crowned state champions.

Allegany used a six-run second inning to pull within 8-7, and took the lead for good with a two-run fourth as Jeremy Potter’s infield groundout scored a run to break a 10-10 tie.

Chesapeake starter Matt Clark went four innings, yielding 11 runs (nine earned) on eight hits, six walks, and a hit batsman. He struck out two.

Justin Armiger went 4-for-5 with two home runs and a double while driving in three runs to pace the Skipjacks, who also received three hits and two RBI each from Ryan Bell and Chad Wolfe.

Mike Kelch (home run, four RBI), Brett Ireland (two doubles, two RBI), Will Delawter, and Jimmy Carroll each had two hits for the Skipjacks. Allegany College 6, Chesapeake College 5

WYE MILLS – The Skipjacks left the tying run at third base after scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh to make a game of it.

Scott Epling’s two-run, fourth-inning triple broke a scoreless tie and put the Trojans ahead to stay.

Chesapeake’s Brett Ireland (2-for-3) doubled in two seventh-inning runs to pull the Skipjacks within 6-5 and reached third base with two outs, but Kevin Weems grounded out to end the game.

Winning pitcher Jason Zinck struck out 11 while allowing six hits and six walks to earn the complete-game victory. Losing pitcher Nick Lemmer went 6 1/3 innings, striking out three while walking three and allowing 10 hits.

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