Coming up short
St. Mary’s sweeps Western Charles to clinch CHASM baseball regular season championship
David Sapp hadn’t been pitching well all year, but he turned his fortunes around to help St. Mary’s defeat visiting Western Charles and clinch the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball League regular season title with a doubleheader sweep Sunday at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City.
Sapp’s six-hit shutout in Game 1 gave the Door the regular season championship. St. Mary’s came into the twinbill with a half-game lead and needed to win one of the two games to claim the banner and the top spot in the upcoming playoffs.
“It’s the best outing I’ve pitched all year,” said Sapp, who graduated from Leonardtown High School in 2011 and played at Frostburg State University. “I haven’t really pitched well and I had three weeks rest, so it was good to come out and throw well.”
“It’s always special to win the regular season and it’s difficult because there’s a lot of good teams in the league, but the ultimate goal is winning the postseason,” Door head coach Drew Willard said. “Yeah, it’s a nice thing to add to the list to accomplishments for our squad, but we want to final the final [postseason] race, too.”
“It’s awesome,” said Lyle Kralle, who drove in the only run of the game with a third-inning single. “We have to take it over to the playoffs now.”
St. Mary’s (21-3 overall) banged out six doubles, including three by Hunter Mohler, to win Game 2 11-1 in five innings.
“We’re always building for the playoffs,” Western Charles head coach Tony Stefko said. “That’s what we do from the start [of the season] and we’ll keep doing that.”
Game 1 was the David Sapp show as he yielded six singles and struck out nine, including five of eight batters early on, and walked three.
“[I just wanted to] throw the ball down the middle and hope they hit it right at people,” Sapp said. “And then fastballs away to a lot of the bigger guys and try and go off-speed and get them to chase. A lot of their big hitters were right on me.”
Sapp ran into trouble in the first when Western Charles had runners at first and third with one out, but his defense turned a 6-4-3 double play. He later caught Zac Herbert looking with two outs and runners at second and third in the fourth.
“He was amazing today,” Willard said. “He’s a great pitcher, but today it seemed he had a little extra on his fastball. He kind of struggled in the first and threw a lot of pitches but then he settled down.”
With two on and one out, Sapp gave way to reliever Luke Rush, whose first pitch to Ricky Brady was lined to first baseman Jared Eaker, who dove to double off the runner at first for the game-ending double play.
“I wasn’t happy I got taken out, but I know Drew knows what he’s doing,” Sapp said. “But Luke went in there and got the job done with one pitch and he hit it right to Jared and he made a good diving play.”
“In a situation like that where your guy’s battling it’s always tough,” Willard said. “You go to the mound and you’re always thinking, ‘He’s going to tell me he wants to stay out there.’ I don’t want him to lose the game and I want to put the team in a situation where we’ve got our best chance to win it. And with Brady coming up and being a left-hander and power bat, we know he struggles a bit with the off-speed stuff and we had a lefty with good off-speed stuff ready to go. It was a no-brainer, I had to do it.”
St. Mary’s got all the offense it would need in the third when Julian Grant pounded an offering from Western Charles’ Josh Davis to right-center field for a triple and scored on Kralle’s line drive hit to right.
“The second pitch he hung me a slider and then I was looking fastball next pitch and he came back with another slider and I just made an inside-out swing,” said Grant, a 2011 Great Mills High School graduate who also played at Virginia State University. “No, no, no [I wasn’t thinking of going home]. I was gassed by the time I got to third. I was just exhausted.”
“I was literally just thinking, ‘Just put the ball in play’ and they had the infield back,” said Kralle, a 2006 Great Mills graduate who played for St. Mary’s College. “So any ball up the middle scores and I put it over [the infielder’s] head.”
Willard said Grant “has been big for us all season and especially in the recent past and he came up and got a ball to hit and didn’t miss. And Lyle comes up and does what he does, which is take the ball to right field and that’s the difference in the game.”
Western Charles (19-6) was led by Tyler Summers and Daniel Ladd, who each had two hits and reached base three times.
“I can’t ever seem to get him out,” Sapp said of Summers.
Josh Davis went the distance for Western Charles and gave up four hits, struck out four and walked two.
“He did everything we could have asked for,” Stefko said of Davis. “He battled and he even had to hit and had some good at-bats; he moved some runners over. But give them credit, David Sapp pitched a really great game and they played great defense.”
In Game 2, Pat Mahoney’s RBI single in the first lifted Western Charles to a 1-0 lead. But St. Mary’s pounded out two runs in the second, three in the third and six in the fourth and cruised to the win.
Mohler had his three two-base hits and plated three runs and Willard added two doubles and drove in two runs. Brad Sullivan added two hits and had an RBI and Jared Karbowsky had an RBI double.
Greg Conden allowed four hits and struck out three in four innings to earn the win. The Door was 8 for 16 with runners in scoring position.
St. Mary’s catcher Drew Willard prepares to tag out Western Charles base runner Tyler Summers on a play at the plate in the third inning of Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader. The Door swept the twinbill and claimed the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball League regular season championship.
Western Charles’ Tyler Summers, right, races back to the bag before St. Mary’s first baseman Jared Eaker can apply the tag during Sunday’s doubleheader.
Western Charles third baseman Brandon DeAtley throws across the infield to record an out in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader versus St. Mary’s. The Door swept the twinbill and claimed the Coors Charles-St. Mary’s Baseball League regular season championship.