Unable to get enough timely hits
McDonough falls to Patterson Mill in 1A North final rematch
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.”
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.
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.