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Skipjack bats cooled off by Allegany pitching

Monday, April 03, 2006

CUMBERLAND – Chesapeake College spent its first 20 games simply hitting baseballs all over diamonds up and down the East Coast. The Skipjacks scored 10 or more runs 13 times in those first 20 games, helping to explain a 17-3 record that was the fastest start in school history.

That offense, which averaged just over 11 runs in those first 20 games, was shut down twice Saturday during a doubleheader at Allegany College of Maryland. Eric Donahue threw a two-hitter as the Trojans notched a 3-1 win in Game 1, and Chris Smith combined with reliever Shane Weldon to pitch a seven-hitter as Allegany completed the sweep with a 4-2 victory.

"Their pitchers threw the ball extremely well," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski, whose Skipjacks fell to 17-5 overall and 8-3 in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference. "They kept us off balance and their defense played well because we hit some balls hard, but right at people."

Saturday´s doubleheader had first place in the conference and Region XX Division II standings on the line. The Trojans (21-5, 14-1) had moved into first place in the conference standings with a 6-5 win over previously undefeated Hagerstown Community College on Thursday, and solidified their hold on the top spot with Saturday´s results.

The doubleheader was also a rematch of last year´s Region XX title game – won by Chesapeake, 11-0 – and as a result was "very intense," according to Szymanski. "Both teams battled and played hard."

The Trojans won Game 1 by scoring three unearned, third-inning runs to break a scoreless tie.

Jeremy Potter reached on a leadoff error before being erased on Kelly Frantz´s fielder´s choice. Jimmy Collins followed with a one-hop comebacker to pitcher Will Delawter, who had a chance to turn an inning-ending double play. Delawter, however, thought there were already two outs and threw easily to first base for what proved to be the second out.

Ryan Flynn (2-for-3), Billy Reams (2-for-3), and Corey Dolly all had run-scoring hits before the Skipjacks could get the third out.

The Skipjacks ended Donahue´s shutout bid with a sixth-inning run that was also unearned. Brad Brainer reached on a leadoff error, stole second, went to third on another error and scored on a Delawter sacrifice fly. That, however, was where the rally ended.

Delawter threw a six-hitter with four strikeouts and two walks while not allowing an earned run. Mike Kelch was the only Skipjack with multiple hits, going 2-for-3.

Chesapeake took a 1-0 lead in Game 2 as Brainer led off the game with a single, went to second on a groundout, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Delawter single. The Trojans, however, answered with two runs in the bottom half of the first.

Jimmy Collins, Flynn and Scott Hugney had consecutive, first-inning hits, with Hugney´s single driving in the tying run. M.J. Parson´s sacrifice fly gave Allegany a 2-1 lead.

Anthony Archie tied the game with a solo homer in the fourth, but the Trojans scored the winning run during a two-run fifth. Collins singled with one out, stole second and scored on Hugney´s two-out single. Reams doubled home Hugney with an insurance run.

The Skipjacks put together a seventh-inning rally against Smith as John Windsor walked with one out and Chris Cirillo delivered a pinch-hit single. Weldon came on to get Mike Garrett to hit into a fielder´s choice, then struck out Brainer (2-for-4) to end the game.

Collins, Flynn and Hugney each went 2-for-3 as the Trojans finished with nine hits in the nightcap.

Losing pitcher Justin Sousa, like Delawter in the opener, had an impressive outing for the Skipjacks.

"Our pitchers threw well," said Szymanski. "Our defense had a shaky third inning in that first game, but other than that they were two well-played games. They just didn´t turn out in our favor."

Szymanski noted both the state and region races are far from decided.

"We would have liked to have won one game, but it just didn´t work out," said Szymanski, whose team was also swept by Allegany during the regular season last year before sweeping the Trojans in the playoffs. "We´re just going to have to work harder the rest of the conference season."

The Skipjacks travel to CCBC-Catonsville Tuesday and then host Harford Community College Thursday in 3 p.m. contests. Chesapeake plays at Johns Hopkins University Friday at 3:30 p.m. against the Blue Jays´ junior varsity, then returns home for noon doubleheaders on both Saturday (against Garrett College) and Sunday (against Montgomery College of Pennsylvania).

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