CONCORDIA PREP SAINTS
2019 MIAA C CONFERENCE BASEBALL CHAMPIONS
the Saints end Indian Creek’s reign in MIAA C baseball in marathon; Draper wins it in 11th
by Derek Toney
Baseball legend Yogi Berra’s phrase “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” is one of sports’ most iconic sayings. In Wednesday’s MIAA C baseball final, Concordia Prep twice thought it was over against Indian Creek School, only to have a championship celebration muted.
Finally, Justin Draper got the last word. The senior’s RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning lifted Concordia to a wild 3-2 victory at St. Paul’s Bleckenstone Field.
Draper’s grounder into right field, scored teammate Colton Smith from second, capping one of the longest MIAA baseball title matches in recent years. It’s the first baseball title for Towson school, formerly known as Baltimore Lutheran, since 2009 (Lutheran won B title).
“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” said Draper. “I’m on top of the world right now. I can’t believe it.”
It was a happy ending for the Saints (16-2) after a 3-hour emotional roller coaster ride in Brooklandville Wednesday. In the bottom of seventh, Concordia had runners at second and third with an one out and Draper at the plate.
Draper hit a come-backer to Indian Creek pitcher Evan Selmer, who threw home to battery mate Parker Harris, who tagged out Colton Smith. Moments later, Andrew Stephens slid home with the winning run.
Concordia Prep rushed the field, but the umpires declared Indian Creek (12-4) called time out before Stephens broke from third base to home. Stephens returned to third with Draper, who kept running with the ball in play, at second.
Selmer struck out Garrett Bender to retire the side and send the game to extra innings. Concordia Prep was unable to walk-it off after loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Parker Harris finally severed the deadlock, taking Concordia sophomore Luke Nelson’s offering 320 feet over the left field fence with two outs in the 10th. Jordan Cann followed with a triple and scored on a passed ball.
The Saints produced another bases loaded situation, this time with an out in the bottom of the 10th. Tyeler Buchanan singled home Evan Shertzer and Josh Young, tying the game.
Indian Creek got a force out at third, but third baseman Logan Harris’ throw to first for a double play sailed high. Buchanan ran home, but didn’t touch home plate.
The Saints rushed the field, and Buchanan, looking to join the celebration, was tagged out from behind by Parker Harris. After the umpires conferred, Buchanan was out, ending the inning.
Despite missing opportunities, Concordia kept their resolve.
“We kept battling, that’s how we’ve done it all year,” Draper said.
It was a pitcher’s duel as Selmer and Lutheran’s Bryce Gregory suffocated both lineups. Selmer allowed just three hits over eight scoreless innings while Gregory, a junior, posted nine innings wroth of goose eggs, allowing three hits and a walk.
“I got to thanks my teammates and coaches for keeping me going,” said Gregory. “I wanted to finish the game, no matter the cost. It’s the last game of the year.”
Gregory didn’t allow a hit until John Warner’s leadoff double in the sixth. Warner tried to stretch it into a triple, but was gunned down at third on a nifty 9-4-5 relay play.
Concordia didn’t get its first off Selmer until Nelson’s single into centerfield with two outs in the fourth. Nelson, Buchanan and Smith each finished with two hits.
Parker Harris went 2-for-4 for Indian Creek, which won the league crown a year ago. Evan Selmer and Logan Harris each singled.
After a walk-off victory against Key in the semifinal round, the Anne Arundel County school wasn’t able to put away Concordia Wednesday.
“We knew coming in they’d have an opportunity once Evan got out,” Indian Creek coach Matt Selmer said. “Concordia is just waiting for you just like we were waiting for them to give us something, and they usually jump on it.”
Saints coach Mike Murtha joked he wanted to “make sure” they got the victory after Draper’s hit, following the premature celebrations earlier. Concordia has reached the postseason three of the last four years.
“I wanted it for the seniors,” said Murtha referring to Shertzer, Garrett Bender, Smith, Stevens, Young, Buchanan and Draper. “They’ve changed the program.”
MIAA C CONFERENCE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
AT ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL
Concordia Prep 3, Indian Creek School 2 (11 innings)
Indian Creek 000 000 000 20 – 2 6 3
Concordia 000 000 000 21 – 3 9 0
E. Selmer, Garrett (9) and P. Harris; Gregory, Nelson (10) and Young
2B: Indian Creek – Warner
3B: Indian Creek – Cann
HR: Indian Creek – P. Harris