Walk­ing off

Sch­noor sin­gle earns War­riors spot in 2A South Re­gion fi­nal

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

Matt Sch­noor knew ex­actly what was at stake when he stepped into the bat­ter’s box at La Plata in the bot­tom of the sev­enth in­ning on Tues­day af­ter­noon. And with the bases loaded and just one out, he knew ex­actly what op­por­tu­nity stood in front of him.

If he could find a way to bring the run home from third, the War­riors would de­feat Patux­ent to play one more game for the Class 2A South Re­gion cham­pi­onship. If he didn’t, well then who knew what would hap­pen.

“I was just look­ing for a fast­ball over the plate that I could hit hard some­where,” Sch­noor said of the at-bat. “The in­field was in, so I was just try­ing to hit a ball hard past them to score the win­ning run.”

Sch­noor de­liv­ered, hit­ting a line drive to right field for a sin­gle to lift the War­riors to a 5-4 win over the Pan­thers in the 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion I fi­nal.

La Plata, which is the de­fend­ing 2A state cham­pion, will host South­ern of Anne Arun­del County in the 2A South fi­nal at 11 a.m. Satur­day with the win­ner ad­vanc­ing to the 2A state semi­fi­nals on Tues­day at Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Bel Air ver­sus the win­ner of the 2A West cham­pi­onship game that has Mid­dle­town of Fred­er­ick County tak­ing on Mar­riotts Ridge of Howard County.

“Just joy to know that we get to move on again,” Sch­noor said of the emo­tions he was feel­ing. “All the se­niors get to play an­other game at home in front of our fans.”

The road to get there was not with­out peril, as La Plata (14-5 over­all) trailed Patux­ent (8-13) early and strug­gled to get any­thing go­ing against Pan­thers start­ing pitcher Sayo Kin­tunde.

Patux­ent’s Brian King de­liv­ered a two-run sin­gle with the bases loaded in the top of the se­cond in­ning, plat­ing Kin­tunde and Tre­van Ro­carek to give the vis­i­tors an early 2-0 lead. La Plata es­caped fur­ther dam­age, how­ever, as Patux­ent left the bases loaded in the in­ning.

La Plata had just one hit through three in­nings and had not se­ri­ously threat­ened Kin­tunde. But to open the bot­tom of the fourth, Quinn Krahling reached on a grounder to short­stop. Ini­tially Krahling was ruled out, but the call was over­turned with the rul­ing that Patux­ent’s first base­man had come off the base.

Kin­tunde next two Sch­noor with two re­tired the bat­ters, but then walked outs and Nick

Steury sin­gled to drive home the War­riors’ first run. Pey­tyn Gray was then hit by a pitch to bring Jar­rod Sch­mitz, La Plata’s No. 9 hit­ter, to the plate. Sch­mitz came through with a two-run sin­gle to left to give the hosts their first lead, 3-2.

“We were down one at that point, and hon­estly I was just try­ing to get in one run so we could tie it up and ev­ery­body could be back to a new ball­game,” Sch­mitz said. “I think we’re one of the best teams when we’re out here with all our fans be­hind us and with our kids on the mound who I know are great do­ing what they do. I fig­ured if we got it back to even, we’d win the game.”

For Patux­ent, the in­ning dealt a ma­jor blow. In­stead of po­ten­tially re­tir­ing the side in or­der, the Pan­thers gave up three runs and Kin­tunde needed to throw nearly 40 pitches which ul­ti­mately lim­ited him to just five in­nings. The fourth-in­ning dam­age was ex­ac­er­bated in the sixth, when Steury drew a two-out walk and even­tu­ally scored an in­sur­ance run on an er­ror to in­crease the War­riors’ edge to 4-2 head­ing to the fi­nal in­ning.

Up against La Plata’s highly touted fresh­man Ryan Calvert in the sev­enth, Patux­ent re­fused to go qui­etly. Ma­son Calvert and Nate Kistler opened the in­ning with back-to­back sin­gles to give the Pan­thers run­ners at the cor­ners with no­body out. Calvert re­grouped to re­tire the next two bat­ters, but Kin­tunde’s two-out hit to left scored Calvert and Kistler to tie the game. Kin­tunde later took third on a wild pitch, but ul­ti­mately was stranded there as the War­riors worked out of the in­ning with­out any fur­ther dam­age.

In the bot­tom half, Krahling and Calvert each sin­gled with one out and Dean Kirby fol­lowed with a walk to load the bases for Sch­noor. Then, on an 0-ball, 2-strike count, Sch­noor de­liv­ered the hit that put the War­riors back in the re­gion fi­nal.

Calvert worked the fi­nal three in­nings for La Plata to pick up the win. He didn’t al­low a base run­ner through his first two in­nings be­fore the drama of the sev­enth un­folded. He al­lowed three hits and struck out five. Kirby started on the mound and went four in­nings, sur­ren­der­ing two runs on two hits and three walks to go along with six strike­outs.

“They have a great pro­gram,” La Plata head coach John Childers said of Patux­ent. “Kin­tunde was great on the hill. He re­ally kept us off bal­ance and com­manded the zone. He’s bet­ter than last year. He’s im­proved. They got ahead of us and put some pres­sure on us and we didn’t han­dle it very well for a few in­nings. The bot­tom of our or­der had some re­ally good at-bats in key sit­u­a­tions.

“Some­times it’s bet­ter to be lucky than good, and I think we were a lit­tle lucky to­day. But you know, that’s base­ball. We’ve taken some tough losses this year. There were three or four games we prob­a­bly should have won and found a way to lose. Maybe this is a lit­tle pay­back.”

Kin­tunde al­lowed three runs on four hits and a walk while strik­ing out six in his five in­nings for work for Patux­ent. Tues­day’s out­come was a heart­break­ing end for the Pan­thers, who had high hopes for a long post­sea­son run af­ter an up-and­down reg­u­lar sea­son.

“They didn’t quit on us all year,” Patux­ent head coach Keith Pow­ell said of his team. “We strug­gled the early and mid­dle parts of the sea­son. We strug­gled a lot and our guys never quit. They kept com­ing to prac­tice and worked their butts off. They did ev­ery­thing we asked of them. It’s a great group of se­niors. They’re all go­ing on to col­lege, a few of them are ma­jor­ing in en­gi­neer­ing. We have some smart kids with very bright fu­tures. It’s just a shame that a high school game is taken from them the way it was to­day. La Plata’s good. Hat’s off to them. They’re a good team, but they didn’t win the game to­day. It was taken from us.”

Satur­day’s re­gion fi­nal be­tween South­ern — which won the re­gion’s Sec­tion II fi­nal at Prince Ge­orge’s County’s Cross­land on Wed­nes­day — and La Plata fea­tures two teams who have won the last three 2A state cham­pi­onships. South­ern won back-to-back crowns in 2014 and 2015, while La Plata fin­ished on top a year ago.

“I’m just glad we’re play­ing here again on [Satur­day],” Sch­mitz said. “It’s go­ing to be a great time for the se­niors, know­ing it’s their last game here. Ev­ery­body’s go­ing to give it their all. I think we’ll do re­ally well on [Satur­day] and hope­fully move on in the tour­na­ment.”

PHOTO BY ROB WORMAN

La Plata’s base­ball team cel­e­brates af­ter Matt Sch­noor’s RBI sin­gle in the bot­tom of the sev­enth lifted the War­riors to a 5-4 win over the vis­it­ing Patux­ent Pan­thers on Tues­day af­ter­noon in the Class 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion I fi­nal.

PHOTO BY ROB WORMAN

La Plata’s Pey­tyn Gray slides through the tag of Patux­ent’s Reese Crounse with a stolen base in the fourth in­ning of the teams’ Class 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion I fi­nal at La Plata on Tues­day af­ter­noon. La Plata de­feated Patux­ent 5-4.

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