Tyler Blohm was Tyler Blohm – outstanding!
And his Archbishop Spalding teammates put away still another foe on the way to their area leading 25th victory (25-4) by 11-1 in five innings to 10-run rule Gilman. The VSN No. 1 ranked and top seeded Cavaliers opened defense of their two-time MIAA A Conference Championship at home in Severn on Monday in impressive fashion.
Blohm, a stylish 6-3 and 175-pound left-hander, ran his record to 9-0 on a dominant two-hitter, a typical outing for arguably the metro area’s premier hurler while the Cavaliers’ corner men, junior third baseman Nick Vermillion and senior first baseman Barrett Smith knocked in six runs. The victors erupted for five runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to destroy a 1-1 deadlock.
“I was really good and loose,” said Blohm. “I knew they were a good hitting team and I started spotting the corners because the umpire seemed to love the outside corner and that’s where I mainly worked. I worked to my success.”
In seeking their third consecutive A Conference crown, the Cavaliers are just two wins away from winning the double-elimination tournament among six teams. Spalding will host No. 5 ranked and second-seeded Calvert Hall (17-10) on Wednesday at 4.30 p.m. The latter Cardinals, who won the 2012 and 2013 titles before Spalding copped the last two, advanced with a 4-2 victory over Mount St. Joseph (16-12).
Blohm’s two-hitter featured six strikeouts and no walks on just 57 pitches, 17 of those pitches coming in the fourth inning when he gave up the hits and only run. Blohm was perfect through three innings, but Manny Engerman doubled to right leading off the fourth inning to become the Greyhounds’ first base runner.
Two outs later John Fitzgerald singled to left and the ball was misplayed allowing Engerman to score and tie the game at 1-1. Spalding’s LaVale Hodges had gone deep over the left-field fence to give the Cavs a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Blohm retired the next batter and that would be all the No. 19 Hounds (15-11) would get.
Blohm, whose velocity was in the high 80’s which is outstanding for a southpaw, impressed his future coach, Maryland’s John Szefe, who just notched his 350th career win and was looking on at Spalding Monday. Blohm committed to the Terps last year.
“Tyler stays calm and collected,” answered his catcher, senior Carter Sears when asked what makes Blohm so good. He never has a bad game. “If he gets frustrated, the very next pitch he’s right back on his stuff.
“His curve ball is extremely effective and he can throw it for strikes whenever we want and he can throw it in the dirt. He knows he has a great defense behind him and it all goes back to his preparation and he stays focused.”
After Blohm ended the Gilman threat in the fourth, the Cavaliers took advantage of a couple Greyhound errors while Hodges drew a bases loaded walk and Smith and Vermillion had RBI knocks to highlight a five-run bottom of the fourth.
In their next at-bat, the Cavs rung up five more with only one out before the game was halted per the mercy rule. Smith and Vermillion each had two run singles and Dave Harding singled in the other.
“This is an amazing group of guys,” said Vermillion. “I came in here my sophomore year from South River and I knew we had something special here. We won it all and now we have a chance to do it again.”
To keep it going, Spalding coach Joe Palumbo will hand the ball to Zach Thompson (7-2) for Wednesday’s Calvert Hall contest. Palumbo loves his team’s confidence.
“Zach has had another solid year for us as well,” said Palumbo, whose Cavaliers have taken the two other meetings with the Cardinals this spring by scores of 5-2 and 3-0.
In it’s victory, Calvert Hall was led by catcher Garrett Matheny, who was 3-for-3 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored. No other Cardinal had more than one hit, but Ian Elliott drove in a pair of runs and Dariel and Jose Tores each had 1 RBI.
Brad Webber made the start for the Cardinals and hurled six strong innings, allowing 4 hits and 1 run (0 earned), while striking out six.
Also, in the tournament’s first elimination game, 3rd-seeded Loyola end the season for 4th-seeded St. Paul’s, with a 6-4 win at Blakefield. Andrew Fava threw 6 strong innings and Jack Sheehan relieved him in the 7th. James Moses drove in 3 runs with a 2 run double and an RBI single. Rick Nickel also had a double and a triple for the Dons.
Loyola will now host Mount St. Joe on Tuesday and the winner of that game will play Gilman on Wednesday.