Coming down to the wire
St. Mary’s, Western Charles, Black Sox in CHASM playoffs, others hoping to still get in
With the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball League regular season winding to close this weekend, there is still plenty left to be decided as the postseason awaits after a Labor Day weekend bye.
Western Charles (15-7), St. Mary’s (15-8) and Black Sox (11-11) have their postseason berths clinched, per the league’s website, chasmbaseball.com, with the other three squads battling for the last two spots. Last weekend, however, was damaging for one of them as Bumpy Oak endured a bumpy ride and dropped all three contests, including a twinbill to the Black Sox on Saturday.
Bumpy Oak (9-14) and the Black Sox arrived at Rainbow Construction Field in La Plata on Saturday tied for third in the standings with identical 9-11 marks, but the Black Sox departed with the sweep after posting a 7-6 victory in the opener and a 7-3 triumph in Game 2. Bumpy Oak then got thumped by St. Mary’s, 13-8, on Sunday afternoon just before the storms arrived in Southern Maryland.
Sunday’s game was doubly painful for Bumpy Oak. After leading St. Mary’s 5-1 through six innings, the Bombers watched the Door respond with two runs in the seventh to draw within 5-3 then erupt for five in the eighth to forge an 8-5 lead. Bumpy Oak tied the game in the ninth, but St. Mary’s scored five runs in the 10th to secure the 13-8 triumph.
“All three of this games last weekend were similar,” said Bumpy Oak’s Danny Michael. “We had the lead late in all three games. Sunday we had a good lead on St. Mary’s, but they just kept coming back. We tied it, but then they had the big 10th inning and that was too much for us to overcome.”
St. Mary’s had controlled the league standings through July, but Western Charles swept it in an Aug. 7 doubleheader, 7-0 and 5-4, to garner the top spot in the standings. Both teams have already secured the top two spots in the standings and both managers agreed the regular season title would be nice but the tournament championship is paramount.
“I think every team wants to win as many games as they can each year and win the league title and go into the playoffs as the number one seed,” said Western Charles coach Tony Stefko, whose team will play the Black Sox at 7 tonigh at Laurel Springs Regional Park in La Plata to make up a Sunday postponement before concluding the league slate with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Bayhawks at Rainbow Construction Field. “Any of the teams that makes the playoffs can win it all. I think each team in the league has beaten every other team at least once.”
St. Mary’s, which will face the Black Sox in a twinbill at Rainbow Construction Field at 1 p.m. Saturday, could still claim the league title and head into the postseason as the top seed after the dust settles this weekend, but coach Drew Willard is more concerned about how the team will fare after the Labor Day weekend bye and during the postseason.
“Right now we have a lot of fresh arms in the rotation,” Willard said. “I have been using my starters for six innings and then letting my relief pitchers get in some work the last three innings. It gives the starters a chance to save their arms for the postseason and gives the other guys a chance to get in some innings. We have a lot of sore bodies in the field, so I’m hoping that [Labor Day] weekend off will give everyone a chance to heal before the playoffs.”
The Bayhawks (9-13), Bumpy Oak (914) and the Cubs (8-14) are separated by the grand sum of one game heading into this weekend. Fittingly, the Cubs and Bumpy Oak will play a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Sunday at Laurel Springs.
“We would just like the finish strong and get into the play-in game,” Michael said. “Once the playoffs start anything can happen.”