King and Butler homer as Cardinals earn a bye in the MIAA A Conference baseball double-elimination tournament; all six playoff teams and four of the six seeds are set
by Joe DiBlasi
It was Senior Day, and the last regular season game in the legendary career of Calvert Hall baseball coach Lou Eckerl, when the No. 3 Cardinals hosted visiting John Carroll, with important playoff implications on the line, Tuesday afternoon at Carlo Crispino Stadium in Towson.
When the dust settled, Eckerl’s team survived a late charge from the Patriots and escaped with a hard-fought 7-6 victory that clinched the second seed and a first round bye in the upcoming MIAA A Conference double-elimination post-season.
Despite the loss, the Patriots will also be in the playoff field, but their seeding will not be determined until their Wednesday game at Loyola. The Dons and Patriots are currently tied for fourth place (each 5-8 in the league) and the winner will secure the fourth seed and a home game on Friday. The loser will fall down to the sixth seed as both squads come up on the short end of the tie-breakers in a tie with fifth-place Gilman (5-9), the defending champions who have come on late in the season to return to the playoffs.
The Hall (17-11 overall, 10-4 MIAA A) overall, got two solo homers in the third inning from Jake Butler and Lamar King, to grab a 2-0 lead. King’s blast was his area best 13th of the season.
The Patriots (11-10 overall) broke through against Hall starter Steven Mufareh with a run in fourth, when Frank Adamski doubled and William Rhine singled him in.
Mufareh had a no-hitter going for 3.2 innings before Adamski’s two-bagger.
The Cardinals got three runs in the fifth, on just one hit. The first two batters were hit by the pitch, and Butler got a bunt single to load the bases. The Cards then scored on a balk, a sac-fly, and a fielder’s choice to take a 5-1 lead.
John Carroll answered with three in the fifth when they sent nine men to the plate.
With two down, Andrew Murphy singled, Griffin Shirk walked, and Matthew Archibald and Ethan Ruiz followed with RBI singles. Adamski reached on an intentional walk to load the bases, and William Rhine drew an RBI walk.
Butler walked with the bases loaded in the fifth to give the Hall a 6-4 lead, and they added an insurance run in the sixth, on a what turned out to be a crucial John Carroll outfield error.
The Patriots fought back with a run in the sixth, and one in the seventh, and the Pats had runners on first and third with two down, when they tried to execute a double steal to tie the game. However, Calvert Hall reliever Pat Genco stepped off the rubber, threw home, and Austin Hoffman was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Hall catcher Lamar King applied the tag.
“I saw the runner coming down, so I yelled to Pat to step off,” said King. “He threw home, and it was a good play to end the game. They tried a double steal. We practice that play every day. Now, it’s exciting to have a chance to win a championship for Coach Eckerl.”
John Carroll Coach Darrion Siler said the play was about execution and timing.
“We talked about it. It showed again why baseball is a game of inches.”
Siler saluted Eckerl.
“I congratulate Coach Eckerl. He is a great coach and a phenomenal man. I have the utmost respect for him.”
Calvert Hall’s Butler, who played a key role and figured in most of the scoring, praised the Patriots.
“They never stop working under Coach Siler. They are resiliant. They came on strong and they battled, and it was a hard fought game.”
Eckerl was pleased with the win and the bye.
‘By finishing as the number two seed, we will have a home game next Monday. John Carroll is a very good team. They’re very scrappy and they’re fighting for a spot and the playoffs. I take my hat off to them. They got in the ball game when they were down by four runs and they stayed right with us.”
Elsewhere, top-ranked Archbishop Spalding completed an undefeated league season (14-0) with an 11-1 rout of Mount St. Joseph, and Archbishop Curley (9-5), which need a Calvert Hall loss to get the second seed settled for third after a 10-2 win over St. Mary’s.
When the playoffs open on Friday, Curley will host the sixth seed, either Loyola or John Carroll and Gilman will host the sixth seed, which will also be either the Dons or Patriots.
On Monday, Calvert hall will host the winner of the game involving Curley and the sixth seed, while Spalding will draw the winner of Gilman and the fifth seed. The double-elimination will continue all through next week with the finals slated for May 23rd at Harford Community College.
Pictured above: Lamar King (left) whacked his area best 13th home run of the season and Jake Butler also hit a home run in Calvert Hall’s 7-6 win over John Carroll.
NO. 3 CALVERT HALL 7, JOHN CARROLL 6
JC 000 131 1 — 6 10 3
CH 002 311 x — 7 5 1
McCracken, Lanzilotta (3), Pearce (5), Cardon (5), Carpenter (6), and Murphy; Mufareh, Perry (6), Genco (7)
HR: CH-Butler, King.