Daddy’s big day
Conden tosses 2-hit shutout with 8-month-old daughter on hand; St. Mary’s sweeps Bumpy Oak in CHASM
After rallying for a 4-3 victory in the opener on Sunday afternoon, St. Mary’s maintained the perfect start to its season in the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball League thanks largely to a starting pitcher who was nearly dominant performing in front of a new family member.
St. Mary’s (7-0 overall) blanked Bumpy Oak (2-5) in the second game of their twin bill, 5-0, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland on Sunday as pitcher Greg Conden tossed a two-hit shutout in front of his wife, Erin, and their 8-month old daughter, Olivia.
Conden was perfect through four innings and did not allow a hit until two outs in the sixth inning and fanned seven to earn a memorable victory.
“This was the first game that my daughter has had a chance to see me pitch,” Conden said as Olivia watched most of the game cradled in her mother’s arms in the shaded area behind the St. Mary’s dugout. “I knew that I had a perfect game through four innings, but I was more nervous about my wife and daughter getting hit with a foul ball. I wanted to make it memorable for her.”
St. Mary’s had rallied from a 3-0 deficit early in the opener to forge a 4-3 lead to keep its unblemished record intact, then Conden virtually eliminated much of the drama in Game 2.
St. Mary’s scored two runs in the bottom of the first when Simon Klink singled to score Lyle Kralle, who opened the game with a walk and Jared Eaker plated Josh Morris, who also walked, on a groundout to second.
In most instances a 2-0 lead is tepid at best, but Conden retired the side in order through the first four innings, needing only 44 pitches to get through those frames. He issued a leadoff walk to start the fifth, ending his bid for perfection and yielded another two-out walk later in the frame, but a double play triggered by Morris at shortstop prevented
Bumpy Oak from getting a runner in scoring position.
“That’s what you expect from Greg every time you hand him the ball,” St. Mary’s head coach Drew Willard said. “He had excellent command of all of his pitches the whole game. We scored enough runs to make it seem comfortable. This team showed some resiliency in the first game. We were down 3-0 early, but we kept chipping away until we could come all the way back.”
St. Mary’s gave Conden a little more breathing room in the home half of the fifth. Brad Sullivan led off with a single, stole second and went to third on an infield single by Nolan Wood. Kralle then plated Sullivan when he reached on a fielder’s choice and Kralle later scored on a two-out single by designated hitter Chris D’Antuono.
Although his perfect game had been tarnished in the fifth, Conden retired the first two batters in the sixth before finally yielding his first hit of the game on a single by Tyler Bond and Sam Wright followed with another single, then Jeremy Remalia was hit by a 1-ball, 2-strike pitch. With the bases loaded and two outs, Conden escaped any trouble when he retired John Lee on a grounder to first base.
St. Mary’s added an insurance run in the home half of the sixth. Hayden Ferington led off with a single to right field and Jay Turen followed with a single to left and both runners advanced on a groundout by Sullivan that was sharply hit off pitcher John Nagy, who recovered to record the out, and Ferington scored the game’s final run on a groundout to first by Wood.
Bolstered by yet another run, Conden retired Bumpy Oak in order on just seven pitches in the seventh, recording his seventh strikeout of the outing. CHASM doubleheaders are two seven-inning regulation contests.
In all, Conden limited Bumpy Oak to just two hits, two walks and one hit batter and threw strikes on 51 of 78 pitches to earn the shutout with his daughter in attendance for the first time.
“It would have been nice to tell her some day that her first game she got the chance to see her dad throw a no-hitter,” Conden said. “But I was glad that she and Erin could be here to watch me pitch. We have a really, really good team. I think the goals are the same as any year — win the championship at the end of the season.”
Bumpy Oak pitcher John Nagy fires to the plate in the bottom of the first inning against St. Mary’s on Sunday afternoon in a CHASM contest at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Nagy took the loss as St. Mary’s prevailed 5-0 behind a two-hit shutout from Greg Conden.