Com­ing down to the wire

St. Mary’s, Western Charles, Black Sox in CHASM play­offs, oth­ers hop­ing to still get in

Maryland Independent - - Excelling In The Heat - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

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.”

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