Caro­line cap­tures Le­gion base­ball ti­tle

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

— The end came quickly with a light­en­ing strike spot­ted in the dis­tance. But the thun­der came in Caro­line Post 29’s six-run third-in­ning out­burst.

Jaret Price went the dis­tance on the mound and Caro­line cap­tured the Eastern Shore Amer­i­can Le­gion Base­ball cham­pi­onship Fri­day night, July 27, with a 14-4 vic­tory over Dorch­ester Post 91 at J. Ed­ward Walter Jr. Park.

Price had closed out last year’s cham­pi­onship game in re­lief play­ing for a team com­bined of Caro­line and Tal­bot County play­ers. This year it was all Caro­line and its third-in­ning out­burst was plenty for the hardthrow­ing right-han­der.

Caro­line only dressed nine play­ers, but eight of them scored, in­clud­ing three runs by lead­off hit­ter Tyler Stan­ley, who reached base on all five of his plate ap­pear­ances.

Nathan Roth knocked in three runs and Gar­rett Nepert plated two for Caro­line, which had won the opener of the best-of-three se­ries, 3-2, Thurs­day evening at Colonel Richard­son High.

“Pitch­ing and de­fense again. We hit the ball when we needed to tonight,” Post 29 man­ager Ryan Blanch­field said. They (Dorch­ester) hit the ball. They just ran out of pitch­ing. That was the down­fall of it for them. But hey, they’re a solid team. Frankie (Whirley, Post 91 man­ager) has done a great job. I give him a lot of credit. He does ev­ery­thing right. It was good to be play­ing against them be­cause they de­served it.”

Caro­line ad­vanced to the cham­pi­onship se­ries with a 2-1 se­ries win over Tal­bot while Dorch­ester ad­vanced with a 2-1 se­ries win over Som­er­set.

By virtue of its league cham­pi­onship, Post 29 ad­vances to the Mary­land State Tour­na­ment that is sched­uled to be­gin Tues­day at the Henry S. Parker Ath­letic Com­plex in Sal­is­bur y.

Stan­ley walked and stole sec­ond to open Fri­day’s game. He took third on an er­ror and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Nepert to make it 1-0.

Dorch­ester opened the home first with three straight sin­gles to tie the game at 1-1. Shamar Young sin­gled up the mid­dle and Tyler Harding sin­gled to left. Zach Revel then lined a base hit up the mid­dle to knock in Young, who was run­ning on the pitch. Post 29 then turned a dou­ble play and Max Pres­ley lined out to keep the game tied.

Dorch­ester took a 2-1 lead when Clint Meekins sin­gled and Lo­gan Mid­dle­ton dou­bled him home in the bot­tom of the sec­ond.

Caro­line then pro­duced its de­ci­sive third off Dorch­ester starter Ben John­son. Matt Wil­loughby started it with a ground sin­gle to right. Stan­ley walked and Mor­gan Loetz crushed a liner up the mid­dle to load the bases. Nepert walked to force in a run. With one out, Roth lined a two-run sin­gle to left for a 4-1 lead. With two outs, Price sin­gled to load the bases again and Ryleek Acree walked to force in Nepert. Wil­loughby also walked to force in a run and Stan­ley hit a liner to left to make it 7-2.

Dorch­ester stayed in the game with two runs in the fourth to cut Caro­line’s lead 7-4. Meekins and Mid­dle­ton walked with two outs. Young looped an RBI sin­gle to cen­ter and Mid­dle­ton scored on a wild pitch. Young was thrown out try­ing to steal home on a close play at the plate to end the in­ning.

Caro­line coun­tered with sin­gle runs in the fifth and sixth, be­fore blow­ing the game open in the sev­enth. Acree reached base on an er­ror and later scored on an­other er­ror in the fifth to make it 8-4. Roth sin­gled in the sixth and scored on Acree’s sac­ri­fice fly for a 9-4 lead.

Three Post 91 re­liev­ers sur­ren­dered seven walks in the sev­enth and five of those run­ners crossed the plate be­fore play ended due to light­en­ing.

Price was all the pitch­ing Post 29 needed.

“Price has been solid all year, threw the ball ex­cep­tion­ally well,” Blanch­field said. “He had a great year at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege this year and I look for him to do good things in the fu­ture for them. He’s been our go-to all year. He’s a big-gamer. He won the game last year for us against Wi­comico in the ‘if’ game that Satur­day.

“It feels good to go backto-back,” Blanch­field added. “I’m proud of these guys. All my re­turn­ers, I’m happy for them. They’ve been faith­ful to me. It’s been fun. To say the least, it’s been fun.”

PHO­TOS BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Caro­line Post 29 man­ager Ryan Blanch­field re­ceives the Eastern Shore Amer­i­can Le­gion Base­ball cham­pi­onship tro­phy from league com­mis­sioner Rusty Smith on Fri­day night at J. Ed­ward Walter Jr. Park in Cam­bridge. Also pic­tured are coach John Buchanan,...

Caro­line Post 29’s Jaret Price de­liv­ers a pitch against Dorch­ester Post 91 on Fri­day evening at J. Ed­ward Walter Jr. Park in Cam­bridge.

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