Lions end 38-year final four drought
Thomas’ homer helps seal first trip to state semifinals since 1978
QA’s 7 — Fallston 4
FALLSTON — Dylan Thomas picked a good time to hit his first high school home run and the Lions picked a great time to stay hot Friday afternoon.
Thomas launched a tworun homer in the top of the seventh inning to give Queen Anne’s County High’s baseball team some breathing room in the Class 2A East Region championship game against Fallston.
Thomas, Queen Anne’s junior catcher, went 3 for 3 with three RBIs and the Lions never trailed to win the region championship with a 7-4 victory.
Queen Anne’s (12-9) season ended at the hands of Williamsport during Tuesday’s 2A state semifinal in a 9-0 defeat.
The Lions last reached the state final four in 1978 when they won the school’s lone state championship in baseball.
Thomas’ home run easily cleared the 330-foot mark on the fence in right-center putting the Lions up 7-5.
“Dylan with the big home run. That’s our first home run all year and what a great time for it,” Lions head coach Chris Fitzgerald said.
Fallston’s Noah Hagenston homered to about the same spot for the Cougars’ final run in the bottom of the seventh.
Queen Anne’s Pat Freeman earned the win, allowing two runs (none earned) in five innings. Chase Porter pitched the final two frames for the Lions.
“Pat Freeman has really stepped up for us big-time,” Fitzgerald said. “He stepped up for us Wednesday against Easton and came in and gave us the innings we needed, and again today he pitches five great innings.”
The Lions jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning. Camden Lancaster and Luke Weddell each walked to open the at-bat and Nick Cintron moved them into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Thomas followed with a looping RBI single up the middle. With two outs, Freeman lined a two-run single to left for the 3-0 lead.
Fallston (12-8) struck in the third to make it a 3-2 game. Colin Gay reached base on an error and advanced to second on a twoout walk to Everett Cox. Hagenston and Sean Harris followed with RBI singles before Freeman struck out the final batter of the inning.
After a scoreless fourth and fifth, Queen Anne’s added a run in the sixth. Freeman singled to left and Darin Rosebrock doubled to deep right. With one out, Porter singled up the middle for a 4-2 lead. The Cougars, though, picked up some momentum with a double play, including a tag out at home, to end the at-bat and to keep the score close.
Harris (2 for 3) singled on the first delivery from Porter in the bottom of the sixth and scored on a twoout throwing error to cut the Lions’ lead to 4-3. Lancaster, Queen Anne’s senior shortstop who made the error, rebounded to record the final assist, stranding two runners, as the Lions stayed in front.
“He’s there for a reason,” Fitzgerald said of Lancaster. “He’s a three-year starter there at shortstop. You get a lot of chances there and we know he’s going to come up with the big plays. He’s done it all year, did it last year. That’s why he’s there.”
Three straight hits by the Lions, ending with Thomas’s home run, in the top of the seventh gave them a comfortable cushion. Weddell looped a single to left and took second on a wild pitch. Cintron followed with an RBI single to left to make it 5-3 before Thomas unloaded.
“I got a fastball inside and low, just took my hands to the ball and went with it,” Thomas said. “It felt great off the bat. I kind of saw it got up in the air, got up there and went over.”
Cougars starting pitcher Bryce Logan suffered the loss, allowing three runs
Queen Anne’s Dylan Thomas is mobbed by teammates after his two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning Friday afternoon in the 2A East Region title game against Fallston.