Focus on Sports
Skipjacks roll to region baseball crown
Sunday, May 15, 2005
FREDERICK, May 15 Chesapeake College’s march to its first NJCAA Division II Region XX baseball championship was hardly easy fall scrimmages, winter workouts and conditioning, and a grueling, 47-game regular season all preceded the regional championship tournament.
Still, the Skipjacks (37-15) made their weeklong championship run look almost effortless. That’s how dominating Chesapeake was in rolling to five straight postseason wins by a combined score of 51-16, climaxed by Sunday’s 11-0 romp over top-seeded Allegany College of Maryland.
Sophomore ace Bryan Brainer (6-2) provided a championship-quality pitching effort, throwing a six-hit, complete-game shutout while striking out 10. And Brainer got more than enough offensive support as Clarke Rollins went 3-for-5 and drove in seven runs, four on an eighth-inning grand slam that put the exclamation point on the championship.
"It means a lot to us," Rollins said moments after Sunday’s final out, trying to explain the significance of the title. "The guys really wanted this, more for Coach (Frank Szymanski) than even for ourselves."
Catcher Kevin Weems, who went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI, said the Skipjacks felt "honored to win it (the region title) because we play in one of the toughest regions in the country."
"It’s a feeling of great success for what we’ve accomplished, but this is just the first step," added Weems, whose team will host Region III champion Monroe (NY) Community College in a best-of-three series to decide the Northeast District championship and the district representative in the NJCAA Division II World Series.
Chesapeake, ranked 14th in the nation in NJCAA Division II, put itself in position to win the region title by outlasting Allegany, 11-7, in Saturday’s winners’ bracket final. The Trojans (41-14) earned their spot in Sunday’s title game by beating CCBC-Catonsville, 3-2, later Saturday afternoon, but it became apparent quite early Sunday that the Skipjacks were ready to make the most of their championship opportunity.
Brainer took command from the start, striking out five Trojans the first time through the batting order.
"I’m so confident with him (Brainer) out there," said Szymanski. "When he throws strikes, changes speed and works quickly, like he did today, he’s dominating."
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