The Calvert Hall baseball team is red-hot.
With a 7-2 victory over St. Mary’s, Thursday at Joe Cannon Stadium, the second-ranked Cardinals won for the eighth straight time and, in the process, clinched the top spot seed for the MIAA A Conference playoffs, which get underway on May 12.
In their winning streak, the Cardinals (22-2, 15-2 MIAA A) have been slugging the ball at an incredible pace, scoring 94 runs and winning its games by an average margin of more than 10 runs per game. The pitchers have also been on point, tossing three shutouts during the run and allowing two runs or less in three additional games
Going against St. Mary’s ace and Virginia Tech recruit Stephen Pelli, Calvert Hall took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning without benefit of a hit.
Catcher Garrett Matheny reached first on an error to open the inning and moved to second on a walk drawn by Justin Kerr. Matheny and Kerr then executed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position. Then, with Michael Polling at the plate, Matheny swiped home on another double steal to put the Cards on the board.
Jose Torres opened a 4-run Calvert Hall third with a double. Pelli then made a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Brendan Webster, allowing Webster to reach base and Torres to score. After a walk to AC Chavis, Calvert Hall’s JP Murphy singled to load the bases. Pelli then got Matheny to line out to left without the runners advancing. However, Webster scored on a passed ball moments later, before Kerr drilled a two-run single to left.
In the fifth, the Cardinals grew their lead to 7-0, with an RBI single by Matheny and a fielder’s choice grounder off the batt of Kerr.
On the mound, Andrew Rosso went made the start for Calvert Hall and turned in 5.2 solid innings for the win. Rosso blanked the Saints through five, but tiered in the sixth, when St. Mary’s broke through for its first run.
In the sixth, Jacob Way reached on an infield error and the Saints loaded the bases with a single by Brandon Cook and a walk to Nick Hopkins. Rosso then walked Clay Wargo to chase home Way. That ended Rosso’s day and Daniel O’Connor came on end the threat for Calvert Hall.
St. Mary’s got its second run in the seventh as Cook stroked an RBI double off of O’Connor with two outs. O’Connor then collected the final out to end the game.
Chavis was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, Murphy scored twice and Kerr had a pair of RBI’s.
Calvert Hall will close its regular season on Tuesday at Archbishop Spalding (12-4), but with a 1-1/2 game lead their place at the top of the division is secured. The Cardinals will receive a first round bye in the tournament and play their first playoff game on Monday, May 15 at home.
Spalding also hopes to get a first round bye as the second seed, but the Cavaliers still have some work to do. They lead third-place Gilman (11-5) by just one game with two to play. In addition to Calvert Hall, Spalding is scheduled to play at Archbishop Curley on Friday in a game which will most likely be postponed. Gilman’s remaining games are at Mount St. Joseph on Monday and at St. Mary’s on Tuesday.
Gilman needs one more win to lock up at least the third seed.
The rest of seeds remain unsettled.
Loyola is currently in fourth place with an 8-6 league record, but the Dons still have four games to play. Only a complete collapse would keep the Dons from making the post-season, but if they would like to hold onto the fourth seed and play at home in the opening round, they need a win or two. Barring weather interruptions, Loyola is scheduled to play at John Carroll on Friday, to host St. Mary’s on Sunday, McDonogh on Monday and Curley on Tuesday.
St. Mary’s (16-10 overall) is 8-8 in the A Conference and currently in fifth place, one game in front of Curley (7-9) and John Carroll (7-9). The three are battling for just two playoff spots.
In addition to its game at Loyola, the Saints have a non-league game at Winters Mill on Monday before hosting Gilman, on Tuesday, in its regular season finale. As previously mentioned, Curley will play Spalding and Loyola, while John Carroll is scheduled to face Loyola before traveling to St. Paul’s on Tuesday.