Unheralded senior Drew Hunt shared the spotlight with senior southpaw ace Tyler Blohm on Monday in Severn, as VSN’s top ranked Archbishop Spalding held on for a 5-2 decision over visiting and No. 2 ranked Calvert Hall, in a matchup of the perennial top two teams in the MIAA A Conference.
Spalding (off to a 7-0 start) has won the last two conference titles while the Hall (2-3) took the two before as the two clubs have dominated play. The Cavaliers are now 2-0 in league play, while the Cardinals fell to 1-1.
It was the Cavaliers’ sixth win against two losses over the Cardinals, three by Blohm since 2014, and the team’s fourth in a row over the Hall.
Hunt came on for Blohm, who is bound for the University of Maryland, in the seventh as the latter was removed after 101 pitches through six innings. Blohm had yielded only four hits, including a two-run homer by the Cardinals’ Joe Murphy in the top of the fifth. Second baseman Fletcher Pack fielded two ground balls and made a leaping catch on a line drive to enable Blohm to retire the side in the sixth before giving way to Hunt, who would survive a jam of his own doing to preserve the Cavs’ victory.
After striking out the first batter in the final inning, Hunt gave up successive singles to left by Joe Torres and Murphy. Bearing down, Hunt then struck out DH Nathan Bosse and got No. 3 hitter Brandon Dorsey to line out to shortstop Dave Harding to end it.
“I know my team’s got my back, so I just put the ball over the plate and the play the odds that I will give my team the best shot to win,” said Hunt, who relies on a fast ball and split-change.
Spalding’s fourth-year head coach, Joe Palumbo, who summoned Hunt to close it out, called the latter “a bulldog and a guy who loves being on the baseball field,’ and wanted to careful with Blohm’s effort.
“Tyler has shown me for four years that he is a tough kid and not much is going to rattle him,” said the coach. “It will take more than a wind-blown home run (Murphy’s towering drive to left got way up in the air on what was a cold, windy day) to get him off his game. He’s a battler but he was right at 100 pitches after six innings and that was his limit.”
Blohm agreed with the decision to come out because he admitted he wasn’t as sharp as he usually is despite 10 strikeouts and only one walk and a hit batter on what was not a good day for baseball.
“The wind was a big factor and the cold temperature, but you have to block it out,” said Blohm. “I wasn’t on my A-game and you have to grind it out and make it work. Drew got Bosse and Dorsey out and that was huge for us. I love pitching against Calvert Hall. It’s always a big game.”
Blohm also noted that in big games when your team stakes you an early lead, that too is huge. The Cavs greeted Redbird starter and loser Brad Weber with four hits in a three-run first. LaVale Hodges doubled in a run and Barrett Smith and Carter Sears had RBI singles.
“We didn’t get timely hitting when we had chances and left too many men on base (7),” said Hall coach Lou Eckerl. “They’re a good team and you can’t give them extra batters and make costly errors. You end up losing.”
Eckerl was referring to the last two runs scored by the home team which came in the fourth inning and would be crucial after the visitors scored in the fifth. A pair of throwing errors in the fourth produced the last two Spalding runs as Evan Fochtman and Billy Godrick knocked them in.
NO. 1 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 5, NO. 2 CALVERT HALL 2
CH 000 020 0 — 2 6 2
AS 300 200 x — 5 7 0
Brad Weber, Matt Hentschel and Garrett Matheny; Tyler Blohm, Drew Hunt (7) and Carter Sears.
2B: AS-LaVale Hodges.
HR: CH-Joe Murphy.