After a one hour rain delay, Calvert Hall’s Troy Stokes hit the third pitch of the game over the left-center field fence to give the Hall a 1-0 lead, and the top-ranked Cardinals would go on to score 13 more times to defeat No. 5 Loyola at Blakefield, 14-3, on Wednesday afternoon. The win clinched first place in the regular season for Calvert Hall, which will now enter the league’s double elimination playoffs as the top seed.
The defending champion Cardinals have won the A Conference championship six times in the past eight years under skipper Lou Eckerl. Stokes had a single and three RBI to go with his lead-off homer, and Ron Farley had a double, triple and a RBI. Ten different players drove in runs for the Cardinals (20-7, 13-3).
Zach Rowe had a single and a double and two RBI, and he scored three runs, while Lou Copley had two hits and a RBI and Manny Rodriguez had a single, double and a RBI.
Sophomore Nick Delp went the first four innings on the mound to get the win. David Gately and Ben Deaver closed the game out for the Cards. Gatley fanned four Dons in two innings of work, and Deaver closed out the seventh.
“We’re being more patient then we were a few weeks ago,” said Farley. “We’re hitting in the morning, getting our swings down.”
Stokes said that the team found good pitches to hit.
“They threw a lot of strikes.” On his lead off homer, the fleet-footed center-fielder said, “He (Mason Kapelanski) started me off with a change up as a strike, and I timed that pretty good. Then he threw me a fastball, and then he left a change-up in the zone.”
Eric McDonough had a single, double and an RBI for the Dons (20-7, 9-11, and Michael Wright had a double and two RBI.
Gilman earned the second seed for the playoffs and Mount St. Joseph (10-5), which still has a game to play with Archbishop Spalding (8-7), clinched third place with Loyola’s loss. Loyola currently resides in fourth place, but Spalding could move from fifth to fourth if it defeats St. Joe. The Cavaliers own the tie-break on the Dons by virtue of a win over second place Gilman, while the Dons were swept by the Greyhounds. Archbishop Curley (7-9), which closed its regular season with a 7-3 win over John Carroll, on Tuesday, will be the sixth seed in the tournament.