Power goes 6.2 innings for the win and Torres notches a save; Kahn brothers deliver extra-base power
by Joe DiBlasi
When Calvert Hall manager Lou Eckerl walked to the mound with two outs in the top of seventh inning, Wednesday, with a berth in the MIAA A Conference baseball tournament finals just one out away, he had every intention of replacing starter Brady Power with closer Grant Duemmel, who had been warming in the bullpen.
Before Duemmel could reach the mound, however, Cardinal shortstop Jose Torres asked Eckerl to “give me the ball.” Eckerl obliged and three pitches later the Cardinals had the final out, a tight 4-3 win over second-seeded Gilman, and a ticket to the tournament finals next Monday at Harford Community College.
The Hall had been cruising behind Power heading into the seventh. Power had a 4-0 lead and he had only allowed two hits, but he walked Gilman’s Tripp Myers with one away, setting the stage for a rally. Tyler Martinez followed the walk and poked a two-run homer to right to cut the Cardinals’ lead in half.
Gabe Gonzales then took first after being hit by a pitch and was replaced by pinch runner Kofi Whitehead. After Ryan Martinez went down on strikes, pinch-hitter Trevor Weiner singled to right and Ryan Williamson blooped a clutch single to left, scoring Whitehead, suddenly the Hounds had the potential go-ahead run on first.
That’s when Torres talked his way onto the hill and fired three fast-balls past Gilman’s Casey Bishiop for a game-ending strikeout.
While Calvert Hall advanced to the finals, Coach Larry Sheet’s Gilman squad dropped into the elimination bracket. The Greyhounds will play on Friday against the winner of Thursday’s elimination game between Loyola and Mount St. Joseph. Friday’s winner will advance to the finals where it will need to defeat Calvert Hall twice to win the title. The Cardinals need just one win to take the crown.
“I told coach during practice yesterday to bring me in whenever he needs me,” said Torres, who had six put-outs at shortstop in the contest. “I had only pitched one or two innings earlier in the season, but this is what I live for.”
In his post-game remarks, Eckerl, who is gunning for his eighth MIAA crown at Calvert Hall and ninth overall (he captured a conference title at Cardinal Gibbons before coming to the Hall), said, “When I got to the mound to change pitchers, Jose wanted ball, so I gave it to him, and said let’s go.
“This was a real good game, and we knew it would be a tough game, because Gilman is such a good team. They are always there with us; I’m glad we got some early runs and held on at the end.”
Sheets, who was disappointed that his guys did not make better swings until the end of the game, still is high on his team’s title hopes.
“We need to win on Friday to get to the championship game on Monday and we’ll use Peter Heubeck,” Sheets said, speaking of his sophomore ace. “If we get by Friday, we will be ready for Monday and Tuesday. I don’t feel any differently about our chances then I did before today’s game.”
Gilman also reached last year’s final, out of the elimination bracket, where it was defeated by Archbishop Curley in the first game.
Alex and Sami Kahn lead the Hall offense. Alex drove in the Cardinals’ first run in the second with a triple, and when Gilman catcher Michael Mallas went to the mound to talk to starter Danny Rosenfield, Kahn and Calvert Hall third base coach Brooks Kerr realized that none of the umpires had called time out.
Alex Kahn raced for the plate and scored easily, as no one was covering home.
“That’s coach Kerr,” said Kahn. “He always has his head in the game. I scored standing up, because no one was covering when I touched the plate.”
Sami Kahn tripled to start the fifth, and he scored on a Garrett McIlhenney single. Torres followed with a base hit, and Parker Landwehr singled to drive in the speedy McIlhenny for what proved to be the winning run.
Power gave credit for the win to his defense.
“Our defense was phenomenal today,” said Power. “That is what championship level defense looks like.”
Sami Kahn concurred, “We played great defense behind Brady today. He had them hitting ground balls, and we made the plays.”
Also on Wednesday, third-seeded Loyola continued to swing some hot bats as it defeated and eliminated fifth-seeded McDonogh, 14-5, at Blakefield. It was Loyola’s second consecutive win in the elimination bracket. The Dons will now advance to play fourth-seeded Mount St. Joseph on Thursday at Blakefield.
Nate Beal was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, three RBI’s and a run scored to pace the Loyola lineup.
Sean Kelly also had a hit, a run scored and three RBI’s, while Emmett Reynolds was 2-for-2 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Dom Dinoto, Jeff Snider and Owen Reynolds each had two hits and the trio combined to score eight runs. In addition, Tommy Rodgers drew three walks and scored twice.
On the mound Stephen Schenning made the start and gave his club four solid innings, striking out five while allowing three earned runs. Austin Mumaw tossed the final three innings, allowing one run and two hits.
NO. 2 CALVERT HALL 4, NO. 4 GILMAN 3
GIL 000 000 3 — 3 5 1
CH 020 020 x — 4 6 1
Rosenfield and Mallas; Power, Torres (7), and Landwehr
2B: GIL-Bennett; CH-Tamberino.
3B: CH-A.Kahn, S.Kahn
HR: GIL-T. Martinez