Golden Elks’ season ends in extra innings
— After a late-game comeback allowed Elkton to keep its season alive for at least one more inning, the Cecil County squad simply ran out of magic.
Senior Solomon Harris delivered an RBI single to center field as the Golden Elks rallied from a one-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extras innings against visiting Harford Tech. However, the Cobras scored five runs in the following frame to break open the contest and hand Elkton a heart-breaking 12-7 loss in the 2A East Region Section I baseball quarterfinals late Friday afternoon.
“I knew we could do better,” Elks senior starting pitcher Mike Moran said. “It just kind of hurts to end the season at this point in the playoffs. I know we could have gone far.”
After Harford Tech plated a pair of two-out runs in the top of the seventh inning to move ahead of Elkton, 7-6, the Elks battled back in the
Elkton senior Solomon Harris hangs his head in disappointment after Harford Tech scored five runs in the eighth inning to defeat the host Golden Elks in the 2A East Region Section I baseball quarterfinals on Friday.
bottom of the frame. Senior Nathan Bakeoven and junior Nick Gregson were both hit by pitches to open the inning, before Harris followed with a run-scoring base knock to center. The host squad was then unable to plate the winning run after the next three batters failed to hit the ball out of the infield.
“We had the meat of our order up and we had a good swing that moved the guys over. We just didn’t
have enough to end it there,” Elks coach Josh LeBrun said of the seventh inning. “Those seniors showed a lot of heart, got on base, and got the one run we needed to keep it going.”
The Cobras wasted little time striking back in the eighth against the relief pitcher, Gregson.
After a sacrifice bunt moved a pair of runners into scoring position with one out, the next batter received an intentional walk to load the bases and keep the double play in order. Jarrett Schneider then delivered his team the lead with a two-run double to deep center. After the next batter grounded in an RBI fielder’s choice, Devin Guido followed with a two-run double to right field.
“During the regular season [when we lost to Elkton, 4-3, on April 20], we hit the ball hard but right at them. Today we were able to find some of those holes and hit some gaps. Late in the game, when we needed it, [our offense] stepped up and delivered,” Cobras coach Paul Daniele said. “They don’t give up and they believe in each other.”
Josh Hucke picked up the complete-game victory for Harford Tech, as he set Elkton down in order in the bottom of the eighth inning. The senior finished having scattered eight hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
“Any loss is tough, especially a playoff game, because you can’t come out another day,” LeBrun said. “There’s no tomorrow. That’s the end of it.”
Moran threw the first five innings, but departed in the top of the sixth inning in favor of Gregson after he allowed a single and a double with no outs. After a sacrifice fly and a throwing error allowed both runners to score, Gregson recorded a pair of strikeouts to escape the frame with the Elks leading 6-5.
“The ump was squeezing me and that’s why my pitch count was up, but I was just trying to throw as many strikes as I could,” said Moran, who allowed nine hits and three walks with six strikeouts. “I was trying to keep them off-balance the second time through the order.”
Harford Tech opened the game’s scoring with one run in the first inning, but Elkton responded by crossing the plate three times with two outs in the second inning. Both Moran and Dakota Hodgson scored on a throwing error, before Matthew Coy scored on a single by Kyle Spencer.
After the Cobras responded with a pair of runs in the third inning to tie the game, Bakeoven and Gregson both singled and scored on RBI by Harris and Moran in the bottom of the frame to re-take the lead.
Elkton then extended its advantage to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth when Harris walked, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI double by Moran.
The Cobras advance to face Fallston in the sectional semifinals on Monday.
Follow Jordan Schatz on Twitter: @Jordan_Whig