Un­able to get enough timely hits

McDonough falls to Pat­ter­son Mill in 1A North fi­nal re­match

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

BEL AIR — Just like last sea­son, Fri­day’s Class 1A North Re­gion base­ball cham­pi­onship game be­tween McDonough and host Pat­ter­son Mill came down to solid pitch­ing and who got enough timely hits.

On a day where both teams got strong out­ings from their start­ing pitch­ers, it was the Huskies from Har­ford County who used just enough small ball early in the game, scor­ing both runs on sac­ri­fice flies to end the Rams’ sea­son in Bel Air for the se­cond straight year, 2-1 in a re­match from last year’s re­gion fi­nal.

The game was sched­uled to start at 4 p.m. but there was an 1 1/2-hour rain de­lay be­fore ac­tion got un­der­way.

McDonough, which only had one hit in last year’s 4-1 loss to the Huskies against start­ing ace Austin Koehn, man­aged just four hits and left four run­ners on base.

Pat­ter­son Mill (21-2 over­all) rode the stel­lar pitch­ing from starter Jake Sheesley, who struck out four bat­ters and al­lowed just one run with one walk in a com­plete-game ef­fort.

“The pitch call­ing was great and I just wanted to keep McDonough’s hit­ters off bal­ance,” Sheesley said. “I was able to hit my spots and when they hit it, my de­fense was great in back­ing me up, I knew I didn’t have to strike ev­ery one out. We are very hungry right now we want to win a state cham­pi­onship.”

It was the third straight re­gion ti­tle for Pat­ter­son Mill, which was a state fi­nal­ist a year ago. It ad­vanced to Tues­day’s 1A state semi­fi­nals to face St. Michael’s of Tal­bot County, the 1A East Re­gion cham­pion.

“It was a com­plete team ef­fort to­day, Jake Sheesley pitched a ter­rific game and got ahead of a lot of hit­ters early, he was up 0-1 pretty con­sis­tently and that was the dif­fer­ence,” Pat­ter­son Mill head coach Matthew Rose­land said. “McDonough was tough, too. Hats off to them, they are a great team. A 2-1 ball­game is what you are go­ing to see in the re­gion fi­nal. Two sac­ri­fice flies just got the job done for us to­day.”

McDonough sopho­more starter Austin Simms also had a strong com­mand, throw­ing four in­nings, al­low­ing two runs on three hits with four strike­outs and no walks.

Se­nior Brant But­ler re­lieved Simms, throw­ing two score­less in­nings with three strike­outs.

“We just didn’t get the timely hits when we needed it with run­ners on base,” But­ler said. “I felt we had a stronger team this year and did great all year. We just came up short to­day.”

De­spite the steady pitch­ing and de­fense, the bats just did not come through enough.

“Pat­ter­son Mill played small ball and ex­e­cuted a lit­tle bit bet­ter than we did,” McDonough head coach Mike Ly­don said. “We had more hits than they did, but they were able to move the run­ners around like you are sup­posed to.”

With Pat­ter­son Mill up to bat in the bot­tom of the first, Max Elliott led things off with a dou­ble to cen­ter field. Koehn then

fol­lowed up with a sac­ri­fice bunt to move Elliott to third. Steve Spencer hit a sac­ri­fice fly to cen­ter, scor­ing Elliott for the first run of the game.

Two in­nings later, Eric Ra­ley led off the third with a dou­ble to left. Two bat­ters lat­ers with one out, Elliott drove in cour­tesy run­ner Todd Campo to make it 2-0.

In the top of the fourth, with two outs, McDonough got its first hit of the game when But­ler dou­bled to cen­ter. Ju­nior catcher Pey­ton My­ers then sin­gled in But­ler for the Rams’ only run of the game.

Ryan Bar­nett walked to lead off the top of the fifth for McDonough. Tommy Wil­ley’s sac­ri­fice bunt moved Bar­nett to se­cond base. Two bat­ters later with two outs, Liam Golden hit a sin­gle to left, ad­vanc­ing Bar­nett to third. Bar­nett nearly

went for home plate on Golden’s hit but was held up due to the throw by Pat­ter­son Mill left fielder Thomas Kraph.

The Rams had one last chance to bat in the top of the sev­enth, but Sheesly re­tired the side, strik­ing out pinch-hit­ter Seth Mor­ri­son to end the game.

McDonough (16-4), a 1A state fi­nal­ist in 2015, had an­other strong sea­son, claim­ing its se­cond straight Po­tomac Di­vi­sion crown, and win­ning the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in a dra­matic 5-4, 13-in­ning win over Chop­ti­con on May 9.

“I’m proud of the kids on what they’ve ac­com­plished this sea­son,” Ly­don said. “We just have to come back a lit­tle bit more ded­i­cated and un­der­stand the game bet­ter in sit­u­a­tions and we will be fine.”

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

McDonough’s Brant But­ler goes back to first base on a pick­off at­tempt as Pat­ter­son Mill first base­man Nick Cress awaits the throw in Fri­day’s 2-1 loss in the Class 1A North Re­gion cham­pi­onship game in Bel Air.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

McDonough start­ing pitcher Austin Simms went four in­nings, al­low­ing two runs on three hits with four strike­outs and no walks in a 2-1 loss to Pat­ter­son Mill in Fri­day’s Class 1A North Re­gion cham­pi­onship game.

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