With a streak of 10 consecutive appearances in the MIAA A Conference baseball finals on the line, it was a foregone conclusion that the Cardinals would not be excluded from this weekend’s party at Ripken Stadium without a fight.
The fight arrived in the bottom of the fifth inning of Friday’s elimination game with fifth-seeded Mount St. Joseph which had slugged its way to an 11-2 lead. The Cardinals, however, scored eight times in the fifth, to move within one, and then four more times in the bottom of the seventh to erase a three-run deficit and defeat the stunned Gaels, 14-13.
After the two teams combined for 26 hits, the contest came down to a four pitch walk to Calvert Hall’s Gabriel Nieto, which forced home Mike Finn with the winning run.
The bottom of the seventh started with the Cardinals trailing 13-10. Leadoff batter Jack Finn was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a single by Alex Kriss. Jeff Jones then drilled a double to left that chased home Finn and advanced Kriss to third. Ian Elliott followed with a walk to load the bases. That brought Mike Finn to the plate and he shot a single to right-field, scoring Kriss and Jones and advancing Elliott to second, as the Cardinals moved within one run.
Tyler Little then forced Elliott at third on a fielder’s choice with Finn moving to second. With one down, Nick Delp was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, brining Nieto to the plate to draw the dramatic walk-off walk.
Andre Brown was 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI to lead the Gaels, while Ethan Gallagher was also 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored. Anthony Caporlette added a hit and two RBI, while Tim McManus was 1-for-2, with three walks, a RBI and three runs scored.
Elliott was 3-for-3 for Calvert Hall with a walk, one run scored and three RBI. Kriss collected three hits in four trips with three runs scored and a RBI. Jones went 2-for-5 with one run and two RBI, Nieto was 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI and Delp was also 2-for-4 with one run and two RBI. Finally, Jack Finn was 1-for-3 with one RBI and four RBI and brother Mike Finn had one hit two runs scored and one RBI.
Calvert Hall (23-9) will meet Spalding for the fourth time this year on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. at Ripken Stadium. Spalding has won two of the previous battles, including a 6-4 victory in Thursday’s winner’s bracket final. The Cardinals will need to sweep a pair in Aberdeen to win the league title for an 11th time. Spalding only needs one victory to win back-to-back championships and it’s third since 2011. If a second game is needed, it will be played on Monday at Ripken Stadium.
St. Joe closed its season at 18-11.
MIAA A CONFERENCE BASEBALL TOURNAMENT – GAME 9
CALVERT HALL 14, MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 13
MSJ 070 130 2 — 13 11 2
CH 101 080 4 — 14 15 1
Weber, Hentschel (2), Sprinkle (4), Maggio (5), Kriss and Finn; Stol, Kilpatrick (5), Chism (5) and Nottingham
2B: MSJ-Brown; CH-Jones, Kriss.
RBI: MSJ-Brown 4, Caporlette 2, Gallagher 2, McManus 1, Palting 1; CH-Delp 2, Elliott 3, J. Finn 1, M. Finn 2, Jones 2, Kriss 1, Little 1, Nieto 1, Dariel Torres 1.
2015 MIAA A CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Mount St. Joseph 9, John Carroll 5
Gilman 12, Archbishop Curley 6
Calvert Hall 10, Gilman 0, 5 Innings
Archbishop Spalding 13, Mount St. Joseph 2, 5 Innings
John Carroll 4, Archbishop Curley 3
Elimination Bracket Game 6
Mount St. Joseph 6, John Carroll 4
Winners Bracket Game 8
Archbishop Spalding 6, Calvert Hall 3
Elimination Game 7
Mount St. Joseph 15, Gilman 3
Elimination Bracket Game 9
Calvert Hall 14, Mount St. Joseph 13
Finals at Ripken Stadium (5:00 p.m.)
Archbishop Spalding vs. Calvert Hall
Finals at Ripken Stadium (If Necessary)