Com­ing up short

St. Mary’s sweeps Western Charles to clinch CHASM base­ball reg­u­lar sea­son cham­pi­onship

Maryland Independent - - Coming Up Short - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @SOMDhab­s­fan

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY MICHAEL REID

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.

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