MIAA C Conference baseball champion St. John’s Catholic Prep
Not in their wildest of dreams, Vincent Ceci and Spencer Griffin imagined when they became teammates at St. John’s Catholic Prep as freshmen back in the spring of 2013 they would win three straight MIAA C Conference baseball championships and play in the title game all four years.
As the late afternoon sun beamed on McDonogh School’s Eyth Field Thursday, there was Ceci and Griffin grinning ear-to-ear for photos after St. John’s Catholic’s 7-2 victory over Concordia Prep for another C title. Griffin and Ceci were the only seniors for the Vikings (14-6 overall), who completed a 14-1 run in league play this spring.
“It’s been awesome to be part of that and I have really enjoyed all four years,” said Ceci, a catcher. “I feel like I’ve improved and the team’s really improved from the first year we were here.”
In 2013, St. John’s Catholic lost to Chapelgate Christian Academy in title match at Calvert Hall College, but exacted revenge the next spring. Last year, the Frederick school was the last team standing in the double elimination after eliminating Saints Peter & Paul.
After missing several opportunities to blow the game open, St. John’s Catholic was able to penned another championship ending Thursday. Sophomore shortstop Seth McRoberts drove in three runs and Griffin pitched a six-hitter.
“It’s a blessing, that’s all I can say,” said the lefthander Griffin. “Without these guys behind me, we wouldn’t be able to do this. We have great coaching and we play as a team.”
“It’s tough,” said St. John’s Catholic coach Omar Enrique of the feat. “We lost our top pitcher and added a couple of transfers, but they’re a good team players. The kids did what we needed them to do in practice and games.”
Tiernan McCormick’s bases loaded single, scoring Alex Morgan, broke a 1-1 tie in the third. The Vikings were unable to do more damage, leaving the bases loaded in the two of the first three innings.
In the fourth, RBI doubles from Regan Miles and Ceci, extended the lead to 4-1. The Vikings finally got a clutch bases loaded hit as McRoberts singled home Griffin and Judah Ehart.
It was more than enough for Griffin, who fanned six and walked four. He picked up off his counterpart Hayato Ishito for the game’s final out.
After throwing 25 pitches in Wednesday’s semifinal win, Griffin was ready to perform in his penultimate game.
“I have a great catcher behind me who knows how to call a game and knows I how pitch,” said Griffin, who added a RBI triple in the 6th. “It’s a big thing to have a catcher that he trusts. When you have that, you can go out and have fun especially with the defense I had behind me today.”ÂÂÂÂÂ
Concordia Prep got up on Griffin and St. John’s with a run-scoring infield single from Andrew Holtman after two outs. The Vikings took advantage Concordia’s errors on the first two batters as McRoberts’ groundout scored AJ Javitt.
Griffin kept Concordia Prep (12-8) off the scoreboard until Ishito’s two-out RBI single in the 7th. Steven Croyder had the only extra base hit off Griffin – a leadoff double in the final frame.
“He kept us off-balanced,” said Concordia Prep coach John Schildwachter. “They’ve been blessed with a good number of pitchers. We’ve seen three of them and the guy we hadn’t seen – the lefty stepped up and did a good job.”
Enriquez is excited about St. John’s Catholic’s future with seven starters Thursday returning among 11 letterwinners. The Vikings are 34-5 in C play including playoffs where they haven’t lost since 2013 loss to Chapelgate Christian.
It was a great note for Ceci and Griffin to go out on.
“We both wanted to go out on top and we accomplish that so no regrets walking off the field and taking off the uniform,” said Griffin. “It’s been a great ride for me and him and we’ll never forget it. It’s been a ride with all my friends.”
MIAA C Conference baseball championship
at McDonogh School
St. John’s Catholic Prep 7, Concordia Prep 2
Concordia 100 000 1 – 2 6 3
St. John’s Catholic 101 221 x – 7 11 0
Ishito and Schildwachter; Griffin and Ceci
2B: Lutheran – Croyder; St. John’s Catholic – Ceci, Miles
3B: St. John’s Catholic – Griffin