Gaels win over Gilman helps Calvert Hall clinch top seed for the playoffs; MIAA A Conference roundup

by Joe DiBlasi

After a 90 minute rain and lightning delay Tuesday afternoon in Irvington, host No. 16 Mount St. Joseph and No. 3 Gilman got down to some important MIAA A Conference baseball business that had key playoff implications.

With Gilman holding a 2-0 lead in the bottom of sixth, the Gaels unleashed a little thunder of their own, producing a five-run rally which led to a dramatic, 5-2, come-from-behind victory.

Mike Rosen broke a 2-2 tie with what turned out to be a 3-run game-winning home run in the bottom of the 6th-inning.

The outcome, combined with Calvert Hall’s 18-3 win over St. Paul’s, finished off any chances Gilman had of ascending to the top seed, as the Cardinals (14-2) nailed down that honor.

Both squads trotted out their aces, Gilman sophomore Peter Huebeck and St. Joe senior John Torroella, and both delivered. Huebeck was twirling a 3-hit gem when he was lifted after he walked the leadoff batter in the sixth and then hit the next batter.

Gilman coach Larry Sheets called on Ryan Williamson, who, after a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, walked Justin Looney to load the bases. Ethan Grib then plated St. Joe’s first run with a fielders choice grounder to Ethan Grieb. Next, Looney stole third and and scored the tying run when the throw sailed into left-field.

Williamson then walked Brad Kenjorski to put two runners on base for Mike Rosen who promptly walloped a 360-foot three-run home run to left, and the damage was done. It was the Wake Forest bound Rosen’s first career homer at the Mount.

“I was a little late all day on the fastball,” said Rosen. “Heubeck threw a really good game. I was 0-for-2 with a walk against him. The new pitcher started me off with a curveball, and I knew a fastball was coming on the second pitch, and I just turned on it and hit it out.”

Torroella, who had a rough start, grew increasingly stronger as the game went on, retiring the last 14 batters he faced. In fact, he struck out nine of the last 12 batters he faced, including seven in a row at one point.

“I got in a groove after the third inning,” said Torroella, who admitted that the late start threw off his game in the early going. “I started using my splitter and slider on the first pitch instead of my fastball, and everything was working.”

Gliman (19-9 overall, 12-5) got a ringing double off the bat of lead off Williamson to start the game, but Williamson was picked-off second on a cannon throw to shortstop Ripken Reese from catcher Looney. Reese sensed that Williamson was a few steps too far off the bag when he signaled Looney to throw down. Torroella credited the freshman shortstop, named for Cal Ripken, Jr., and rifle-armed Looney for making the heads-up play.

MSJ’s John Torroella retired the last 14 batters he faced and struck out nine of the last 12. He finished with 12 strikeouts including seven in a row at one point.

The pick-off play thwarted what could have been a big inning for the Greyhounds. Second hitter Casey Bishop whacked a double as well, but Torrotella got Gilman’s Pierce Bennent on a fly ball to deep right, and Jackson McCambridge on a grounder to third.

The Hounds got their two-run lead in second on an RBI single by Ryan Martinez and an RBI double by Mike Malllas.

St. Joe coach Phil Kraska praised Torroella and Rosen.

“John continues to be a great competitor,” said Kraska. “He puts the team on his back and he’s able to take that responsibility. His timing was perfect; he got the big hit for us.”

St. Joe (16-8 overall) improved to 10-6 in the league and the Gaels currently sit in fifth-place and, with two games to play, still has a chance to finish anywhere from second to sixth in the league. Regardless of where they finish, they will be in the playoffs.

In locking down the the top seed for the double-elimination playoffs, which will get underway on May 11th, Calvert Hall bounced back from Tuesday’s home loss to Loyola by scoring seven runs in the top of the first and eight more in the fourth to finish off the Crusaders. The Cardinals had 14 hits, including home runs by Parker Landwehr, Peter Marchinck and Jose Torres. The Cardinals added three doubles and a triple.

Loyola (11-5) continued its second half roll with a 5-1 win at Archbishop Curley to move into third-place in the league, just a half game back of Gilman.

Emmett Reynolds had a pair of doubles and arun scored and Danny Sheeler drove in two runs for the Dons. In addition, Owen Reynolds was 3-for-3. Nate Beal pitched 5.1 innings for the win, allowing three hits and one run, while striking out eight.

In another key game, No. 7 Archbishop Spalding (9-7) topped No. 12 McDonogh (9-5), 8-5, in a game halted after six innings due to darkness. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Cavaliers and eliminated John Carroll from the post-season.

The Cavaliers, currently in sixth place, have two game lead on John Carroll, with two league games to play, and Spalding won both head-to-head meetings.

Spalding broke open a 1-0 ballgame with five runs in the top of the fourth and added two more in the fifth. Justin Caesar and Josh Moylan each had two hits to lead the Cavaliers.

GIL 020 000 0 — 2 6 1
MSJ 000 006 x — 5 3 1
Heubeck, Willismson (6) and Mallas; Torroella and Looney
2B: GIL-Williamson, Bishop, Mallas.
HR: MSJ-Rosen.
WP—Torroella LP—Williamson