Talbot-Caroline beats Kent/QA, off to win-bracket final
Tal/Car 17 — Kent/QA 6 Worcester 13 — Dorchester 3
HURLOCK — All this week, the American Legion baseball’s Eastern Shore District holds its playoffs, and so far, the seeding seems to have held up fairly well.
Top seed Wicomico, with only one loss to a divisional opponent, 3-1 to Talbot-Caroline three weeks ago, has advanced to Wednesday’s win bracket final. Talbot-Caroline has as well, thanks to a 17-7 win over KentQueen Anne’s on Monday night.
Tuesday evening, Worcester, taking on Dorchester in an elimination game, stayed alive with a 13-3, seven-inning rout.
In Monday’s contest, Kent-Queen Anne’s brought plenty of pop to the contest, but two big innings put things out of reach.
Kole Klabe of Kent-Queen Anne’s led off the game with a solo homer to left, one of four round-trippers by his team on the night.
But Talbot-Caroline answered with two in the bottom of the inning on a double by Jaret Bennett, who finished with three hits, driving in five on the night.
Another solo blast, this time by Alex Usilton, made it 2-2 in the top of the second, but Talbot-Caroline answered with a huge spurt.
A Brenan Cassell triple with the bases-loaded highlighted the sixrun Talbot-Caroline second, which made it 8-2.
But again, Kent-Queen Anne’s struck with the long ball. Bradley Thaxton’s solo homer — one of two he’d have on the night — began a three-run third inning that made it a game again at 8-5. Kyle Sonneveldt scored on a single by Aaron Rovenolt, and Ben Manley walked, eventually coming across the plate on a wild pitch.
Talbot-Caroline scored a pair in the fourth, one on a wild pitch, the other on a Garrett Nepert sacrifice fly.
After Kent-Queen Anne’s scored a single tally in the top of the fifth, a six-run rally in the bottom by Talbot-Caroline made it what would have been a rout-rule victory, at 16-6, during the regular season, when games were seven innings.
But unlike then, the playoffs are all nine-inning games, and the 10-run margin needed for such a win must be in place after seven innings, not five, so play continued.
Thaxton hit his second homer of the night in the top of the sixth to make it 16-7; it remained that way until the bottom of the eighth. Jamison Covey led off that half of the inning by lofting a fly ball high to left field which was dropped. Covey made second on the play, and scored the game-ending run one out later on a single by Ryleek Acree.
Zach Hall, in relief of starter Matt Burns, picked up the win for Talbot-Caroline; Usilton took the loss.
Tuesday, Dorchester, which lost its opening playoff game over the weekend in the double-elimination event, had to try to stay alive against Worcester, which fell in its last postseason contest as well but which had swept Dorchester in three regularseason games.
Worcester, the home team, scored four runs in the second and third innings to pull out to an insurmountable 8-0 lead; Chester Smith notched an RBI double in the second, and a run-scoring single in the third, scoring a run in
each as well, as did teammates Derek Smith and Hunter Molnor.
Meanwhile, Worcester lefty starting pitcher Brandon McKenzie cruised, striking out five straight hitters, and six out of seven, at one stretch. He lost his shutout bid in the top of the fourth, when J. T. Robinson doubled with two out and scored on a Trevor Goodwin single.
Worcester replied with two of its own, one scoring by way of error, the other on a Chaudrey Johnson base hit.
Worcester pulled out 12-1 in the fifth, as Mason Elzey walked and later scored, and Ben Hudson hit a double, eventually coming in on a delayed steal of home.
Robinson reached on an error in the top of the sixth, and scored on Daniel Garcia’s ground out to short two batters later, to make it 12-2.
Worcester added a run in the bottom of the sixth when Derek Smith drew a leadoff walk, and eventually came home on a wild pitch.
Down 13-2 in the top of the seventh, Dorchester needed to score twice to keep the game alive at least into the bottom of the inning.
Dorchester got one run, as Max Pressley walked to lead the inning off and came home on Tyler Pinder’s double. But that was it.
Worcester takes on KentQueen Anne’s in an elimination game in Hurlock at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Top-seeded Wicomico and Talbot-Caroline, the No. 2-seeded team, play in the win bracket final Thursday in Hurlock at the same time. Follow me on Twitter:
Talbot-Caroline’s Dylan Nepert squares one up during the second game of a June 4 doubleheader against Worcester. Talbot-Caroline takes on Wicomico on July 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the win-bracket final of the double-elimination Eastern Shore District playoffs.