Mov­ing on up

Dou­ble­header sweep moves West­ern Charles to top of stand­ings

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

En­ter­ing Sun­day, West­ern Charles had al­ready clinched a play­off spot and was just one game be­hind St. Mary’s Door in the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Base­ball League stand­ings.

West­ern Charles con­cluded the day with a dou­ble­header sweep of the Bumpy Oak Bombers with a 7-6 win in the opener fol­lowed by an eight-in­ning, 11-9 tri­umph at Rain­bow Con­struc­tion Field in La Plata.

League dou­ble­head­ers are two seven-in­ning con­tests.

With three more reg­u­lar sea­son games re­main­ing, West­ern Charles now is one game ahead of St. Mary’s for the top spot in the league stand­ings. St. Mary’s, the 2015 reg­u­lar sea­son cham­pi­ons, was swept on Sun­day by the Cubs in a dou­ble­header.

“Ev­ery win is big and both wins took a com­plete-team ef­fort. If we didn’t have the depth and the play­ers that we had to­day, the sweep wouldn’t have hap­pened,” said West­ern Charles man­ager Tony Ste­fko. “We stayed with it and [Bill] DeAt­ley fin­ished strong with us in the last in­ning.”

Un­der gru­el­ing hot tem­per­a­tures, West­ern Charles (15-7 over­all), which won its sev­enth straight game af­ter Sun­day’s sweep, trailed the Bombers 9-4 af­ter three in­nings in the sec­ond game of the twin­bill, but in the fi­nal five in­nings the team re­sponded with seven unan­swered runs that were capped by a two-run home run by Johnny Klopfer in the top of the eighth to help se­cure the come­back vic­tory. Be­tween the two teams there 31 hits com­bined in the game.

A Ricky Brady sin­gle set up the two-run shot by Klopfer.

Bill DeAt­ley picked up the win in re­lief, go­ing 5 2/3 in­nings with one strike­out, no walks and no runs given up. Jim Rice started the first two in­nings on the hill for West­ern Charles, al­lowed six runs,

five earned in a no de­ci­sion. Pat Mahoney came in and threw for one-third of an in­ning, giv­ing up three runs.

Lead­ing the of­fense for West­ern Charles was Ja­son Mur­ray, who fin­ished 4 for 4 with a dou­ble and three RBIs.

“It was a hot day, but the team cam to­gether and scored 11 runs in game two,” said Mur­ray. “We’ve been get­ting a lot of hits to­ward the end of the sea­son. We were down in both games and didn’t give up. We al­ways think we can win.”

Tyler Sum­mers was 3 for 6 with a dou­ble and two runs scored in the win.

Bumpy Oak (9-11), which are tied with the Black Sox for third place in the stand­ings, were led by Aaron Michael who was 3 for 4 day at the plate with four RBIs, with a dou­ble and a solo home run in the sec­ond game. Sam Wright was 3 for 4 with two runs scored in the los­ing ef­fort.

The Bombers’ Char­lie Wright started on the mound and pitched to a no-de­ci­sion, gong the first four in­nings, al­low­ing eight runs with four walks. Cam Re­malia suf­fered the loss, go­ing 3 1/3 in­nings with five strike­outs and no walks.

“We are fight­ing and it would have been nice to come away with some wins to­day. We just came up short,” said Michael, the as­sis­tant man­ager. “West­ern Charles has a very good team that can hit. We are in tran­si­tion and are try­ing to mix in younger guys. So it is go­ing to take some time to get back to the Bumpy Oak team we used to be.”

In the opener, West­ern Charles trailed 5-2 af­ter four in­nings but came to within one run in the fifth and had a three­run sixth that was spurred by Wy­att Pot­ter’s RBI dou­ble and a two-run sin­gle by Sum­mers to give them a 7-5 lead.

Bumpy Oak came to within one run in the bot­tom of the sev­enth, but did not have enough in the end.

Josh Davis started the for West­ern Charles and took a no-de­ci­sion. He went just 2 1/3 in­nings, due to an ail­ing chest cold, but fin­ished with five strike­outs, two walks and one hit bat­ter.

DeAt­ley pitched the fi­nal in­ning and picked up the save, strik­ing out one bat­ter.

Daniel Ladd picked up the win, go­ing 3 2/3 in­nings and al­low­ing just one walk.

“It is com­ing up at the end of the [reg­u­lar] sea­son and we want to keep win­ning, so we get some mo­men­tum go­ing into the play­offs,” said Ladd af­ter the open­ing-game win. “We are play­ing well right now and we have a lot of depth and ev­ery­body wants to win. We rely on each other a lot and have been work­ing hard. This is a very tough league, but I think we can win the whole thing. As you can see ev­ery game is a bat­tle.”

West­ern Charles was led by Ja­son Boyd in the first game. Boyd was 3 for 4 on the day with two runs scored, while Pot­ter was 2 for 4 at the plate.

The Bombers were led by John Lee, who was 3 for 4 and scored twice. Sam Wright went 2 for 3 with dou­ble and one run scored in the loss.

Bumpy Oak starter David Sapp went five in­nings with two strike­outs, giv­ing up four runs in a no-de­ci­sion. Nick Huff suf­fered the loss, go­ing one in­ning, al­low­ing three runs in the sixth with one walk.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

West­ern Charles pitcher Daniel Ladd picked up the win in 7-6 vic­tory in the first game of Sun­day’s dou­ble­header ver­sus Bumpy Oak at Rain­bow Con­struc­tion Field in La Plata. Ladd pitched 3 2/3 in­nings and walked just one bat­ter in the con­test.

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