Top-ranked Calvert Hall already had the top-seed for the MIAA A Conference baseball playoffs, which get underway on Friday, locked up when it visited Severna Park on Tuesday to battle No. 2 Archbishop Spalding, but a win was still important to the Cardinals who have struggled against the Cavaliers for the last three seasons.
To that end, the Cardinals scored once in the top of the first and added four runs in the third to fuel a 6-2 win over Spalding.
JP Murphy had a big day at the plate for the Cardinals, going 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI and Michael Poling hit a 2-run home run. Spencer Blair and Jose Torres also doubled for the Cardinals (23-2, 16-2 MIAA A), who concluded their regular season.
Evan Fochtman went 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead Spalding (19-6 overall), which also closed its regular season. The Cavaliers are 13-5 in the league and will be the second-seed in the playoffs and have a first round bye.
Gilman (12-5), which closes its regular season against St. Mary’s Wednesday night, can match Spalding’s league record, but the Cavaliers own the tie-break by virtue of two wins over John Carroll and/or Archbishop Curley, depending on who finishes higher, while Gilman split with both of those clubs. The Greyhounds will be the third seed and open the post-season at home on Friday against the sixth seed.
Loyola (9-8), which lost to Curley, 8-3, is locked in as the fourth seed, and will also host the fifth seed in an opening round game on Friday.
Curley (8-10) is currently in seventh place in the league, with its league schedule complete, but kept itself alive with the win at Blakefield.
Wesley Meadowcroft went 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI, to lead the way. Paul Nixon (1R), Nick Brown (1RBI) and Tyler Locklear (2R, 1RBI) also doubled for the Friars and Jalen March (1R, 2RBI) tripled.
The Friars still have two paths into the tournament.
John Carroll, which rallied past St. Paul’s, 6-5, on Tuesday, and St. Mary’s are tied for fifth-place at 8-9, both with one game remaining. St. Mary’s, as previously mentioned hosts Gilman on Wednesday and John Carroll hosts Loyola. A loss by either team will elevate Curley, which owns tie-break in advantages over both teams, in two-way and three-way tie scenarios, into the playoffs.
If St. Mary’s and John Carroll both lose, the teams would be in a three-way tie for the final two playoffs spots. At that point, St. Mary’s would be eliminated because it would not have a win over Gilman, which the other two have. Then, in a two-way tie between Curley and John Carroll, the Friars would take the tie-break and the fifth-seed by virtue of a win Loyola, which John Carroll would not have at that point. The Patriots would settled for the sixth seed.
Should St. Mary’s win and John Carroll lose, the Saints would take the fifth-seed outright and Curley would be the sixth by virtue of the same tie-break scenario. Likewise, if John Carroll wins and St. Mary’s loses, JC would be the outright fifth seed and Curley would be the sixth on the tie-breaker. Finally, should St. Mary’s and John Carroll both win, Curley would be eliminated and St. Mary’s would own the fifth-seed tie-breaker by virtue of two wins over Mount St. Joseph, with whom John Carroll split.
In its victory at St. Paul’s, which saved its post-season hopes, John Carroll rallied for single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to prevail. Zach Rasmussen hit a home run to tie the game in the sixth and Argirios Stakias delivered the game-winning run with an RBI single in the top of the seventh. Nick Collier came on to work a scoreless inning of relief to get the save for winner Hunter Tipton, who delivered five clutch innings of relief after the Patriots had fallen behind 4-0 in the opening inning.