Down 6-0, No. 3 Calvert Hall scores 11 times in late innings to upend Loyola

by Joe DiBlasi

It was finally a perfect day for baseball at Carlo Crispino Stadium on the campus of Calvert Hall College, Saturday, as crystal clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 50’s, provided the backdrop for a critical MIAA A Conference baseball battle between the defending league champion and eighth-ranked Loyola Blakefield and the host Cardinals.

In a reverse of last spring’s title game, No. 3 Calvert Hall rallied to take an 11-6 decision in Towson.

The Dons got an early 4-0 lead in the top of the second, aided by a fielder’s choice and an error, before Blakefield shortstop Dom Dinoto hit a key RBI double.

Loyola third baseman AJ Holcomb hit a solo home run to start the third inning that gave the Dons a 5-0 lead, and after Jeff Snider smashed a one-out triple in the top of the fourth, center-fielder Jack Reinhardt singled, to give Loyola a 6-0 cushion.

With Loyola ace Will Glock cruising along, the Dons appeared in control, but Glock lost his control in the fifth and so did the Dons, as Calvert Hall batted around and scored six runs and four hits to tie the contest.

A single and two hit batsmen loaded the bases for the Hall (3-4 overall, 2-3 MIAA A) to start the inning, before right fielder Dom Freeberger cleared the bases with a ringing double to left-center, that put the Cardinals on the board and back in the game.

Parker Landwehr then singled to right to put runners on first and third, and Roberto Barranca walked to load the bases. JP Murphy then lined a shot to third, that was speared by Holcomb, but when he fell to the ground, the ball came loose and the umpire gave the safe call, meaning the play was still live. Holcomb recovered to get a force at the plate, but then a high throw from home to second allowed the Cardinals to score the tying run.

Calvert Hall would then score five more times in the bottom of the sixth after two were out.

Jose Torres singled, Freeberger walked, and Landwehr singled to give the Cardinals their first lead of the day. Garrett McIlhenney then singled to center with the bases loaded, the ball bounced past the Loyola center fielder, allowing all four Cardinals to score, including McIlhenney.

Colin Flynn who came on in relief for coach Lou Eckerl stymied the Dons over the last three innings of the game holding them scoreless and hitless, while allowing just one walk. Flynn notched the win.

Eckerl said, “Dan O’Connor (starter) and Flynn have been doing extremely well for us. Our pitching has been fine, we just keep making mistakes in the field and the errors have been hurting us.”

For his part, Flynn said, “Our defense really came up big in the last couple of innings. I was able to hit some spots and they chased some pitches.”

Freeberger, who had the key double in the Calvert Hall fifth said, “On a 1-1 count I thought I was probably going to get a fastball and I knew I wasn’t going to miss it, so I put a good swing on it. I was happy to feed off the energy the team was bringing.”

Landwehr and McIlhenney, both had key hits in the sixth inning.

Landwehr said, “I really just got something to hit and didn’t try to do much with it and luckily it found a hole.”

McIlhenney added, “I was looking for a pitch on the outside and I drove it right up the middle.”

The clutch hitting allowed the Cardinals to get back on the winning track. McIlhenney said, ” we definitely turned it around today”.

Loyola coach Mike Kelly said, “We threw strikes great for four innings and then the wheels fell off on the mound, and when you don’t pitch well, you give a good team a chance to come back. I give them credit, they took advantage of our mistakes, just like we did earlier, with them when we took a 6-0 lead.”

In the final game of the MIAA A double elimination last May at Harford Community College, Loyola (4-5, 1-3 MIAA A_, down to its last four outs, scored seven runs in the sixth, to snatch an 8-3 victory over Calvert Hall. It was the Dons’ first basketball title since 1946.

“I told the team that I think we should have hit a little bit better today,” said Kelly. “We have a couple of guys that can hit the ball really well, and I told them we just didn’t hit it well enough.”

Pictured above: (from left) Colin Flynn, Parker Landwehr, Dom Freeburger and Garrett McIlhenney all played key roles in the Cardinals’ come-from-behind win.

LOYOLA 041 100 0 — 6 6 1
CALVERT HALL 000 065 x — 11 8 1
Glock, Barnes (5), Mumaw (6), and Reynolds; O’Connor, Flynn (5) and Landwehr
WP – Flynn; LP – Barnes
2B: LOY-Dinoto.
3B: CH-Snider.
HR: LOY-Holcomb.