Western Charles ral­lies past St. Mary’s in CHASM play­offs

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

Sun­day af­ter­noon’s play­off games in the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Base­ball League pro­duced a pair of dra­matic re­sults, leav­ing three teams stand­ing head­ing into next week­end’s ac­tion at Rain­bow Con­struc­tion field in La Plata.

Western Charles (20-7 over­all) ended the reg­u­lar sea­son with 10 straight vic­to­ries to earn the top seed head­ing into the post­sea­son, dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion tour­na­ment and Sun­day af­ter­noon it ral­lied for a 7-6 vic­tory over St. Mary’s to earn a bye into next Sun­day’s po­ten­tial cham­pi­onship round.

“Any­time th­ese two teams play it al­ways comes down to the last in­ning,” said Western Charles man­ager Tony Ste­fko, whose team will await the win­ner of Satur­day’s con­test be­tween St. Mary’s and Bumpy Oak. Western Charles de­feated Bumpy Oak 6-4 on Satur­day, while St. Mary’s up­ended the Black Sox, 7-2. “Both teams made great plays on de­fense and had good hits.”

St. Mary’s (17-10) scored one run in the first in­ning and another in the sec­ond against Western Charles starter Jim Rice as Lyle Kralle, a Great Mills High School and St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land grad­u­ate, drove in both runs with a dou­ble in each frame. Kralle would fin­ish the day 5 for 5 with three runs bat­ted in and a run scored, a stel­lar per­for­mance in a los­ing cause.

“I love play­ing against [Western Charles],” Kralle said. “Ev­ery time we play them it comes down to the last in­ning or last at-bat. Both teams re­ally played well to­day. We made plays on de­fense and they made plays on de­fense. We had some good hits and they had timely hits. I hope we play them again, but we have another game to win [on Satur­day] be­fore that hap­pens.”

Western Charles claimed its first lead of the game by scor­ing three runs in the bot­tom of the sec­ond against starter Greg Con­den with Ja­son Boyd and Chris Blondin each driv­ing in a run with a sin­gle and Boyd later scor­ing when St. Mary’s turned a dou­ble play that thwarted a con­sid­er­ably big­ger in­ning.

The Door re­gained the lead in the top of the fourth by scor­ing three times against Rice. Kralle kept his per­fect day alive with an RBI sin­gle and Ja­son Bean fol­lowed with a bloop sin­gle to left and Kralle later scored on a re­verse dou­ble play that ended the in­ning.

Western Charles coun­tered with three runs in the bot­tom of the fifth to re­gain the lead on con­sec­u­tive sin­gles by Johnny Klopfer III, Ricky Brady and Boyd. St. Mary’s tied the game in the top of the sev­enth, but Western Charles re­liever Danny Ladd, who en­tered with two run­ners aboard and none out, limited the dam­age by al­low­ing only one in­her­ited run­ner to score.

“When I came into the game I was just think­ing about throw­ing strikes,” said Ladd, who would even­tu­ally gar­ner the win. “I knew my de­fense was go­ing to make plays be­hind me. I had com­plete con­fi­dence in the guys back­ing me up.”

Western Charles scored the go-ahead run in the bot­tom of the eighth against St. Mary’s south­paw re­liever Luke Rush. Blondin had a one-out sin­gle and Keith Wood and Tyler Sum­mers both de­liv­ered two-out sin­gles. Ste­fko, run­ning for Blondin, scored the even­tual game-win­ner on Sum­mers chop­per into left field. Just af­ter Ste­fko scored, Wood was thrown out at third try­ing to get an ex­tra base on Sum­mers sin­gle.

“There were two outs and a two run­ners on and I was just look­ing for some­thing to hit,” Sum­mers said. “I thought I made good con­tact and I got one of those le­gion bounces through the in­field. It was a great game. We al­ways have great games with those guys. That’s what I love about play­ing against them.”

In the game that pre­ceded the win­ner’s bracket fi­nal, Bumpy Oak (12-16) ral­lied for a 10-7 vic­tory over the Black Sox (12-15) by scor­ing four times in the top of the ninth. Danny Michael tied the game with a solo home run, then man­ager Ray Michael in­serted him­self into the game as a pinch-hit­ter and smacked a three-run homer to give the Bombers an im­prob­a­ble vic­tory.

Bumpy Oak earned the right to face St. Mary’s at 1 p.m. Satur­day at 1 p.m. at Rain­bow Con­struc­tion field with the win­ner ad­vanc­ing to Sun­day’s 1 p.m. game against Western Charles. If Western Charles de­feats ei­ther team on Sun­day, it be­comes the cham­pion, but if the Bumpy Oak-St. Mary’s win­ner de­feats Western Charles on Sun­day, then a win­ner-take-all “if” game would be held Sept. 24.

“I hope we can get it done next Sun­day,” Ladd said. “Last year the Cubs got us. Hope­fully this year we can take care of busi­ness.”

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