With three wins in its last five games, including upsets of No. 1 Archbishop Spalding and No. 4 Calvert Hall, the Mount St. Joseph baseball team has climbed out of last place in the MIAA A Conference and, following a 2-1 win at Archbishop Curley, Wednesday, the Gaels are now within one game of a playoff berth with two to play.
Zac Stoll pitched a complete game for St. Joe (13-12, 6-10) and the Gaels scored both of their runs in the top of the third. Paul Kaschak walked and Connor Feustle reached base when the Curley infield made throwing error to a foil a potential double-play ball. Michael McManus then reached on an infield single to load the bases. Jack Stilling followed with a ground ball to short, forcing McManus at second, but the throw to first got by the first baseman, allowing Kaschak and Feustle to score.
Curley (7-12, 7-9) threatened several times, but the Friars’ only run came on a home run by Paul Nixon in the bottom of the fifth inning.
A Curley win would have given the Friars and season sweep of the Gaels and virtually eliminated them from playoff contention. Now, St. Joe is just one game back of the Friars in the battle for one of the six playoff seeds, with two games to play.
Spalding (14-2), Calvert Hall (11-5) and St. Paul’s (10-5) will be in the double-elimination A Conference post-season tournament. Five other teams are still chasing the other three spots.
Loyola is 7-7 and has the four games to play. St. Mary’s, which sits in 8th place at 5-9 also has four games left. Gilman (8-8) join Curley and St. Joe with two games to play in conference.
St. Joe has another huge contest on Thursday when it hosts Loyola in Irvington. The Gaels are scheduled to close their regular season on Tuesday at St. Paul’s. Curley, which plays its final league contest against Spalding at home on Tuesday, also has big game on Thursday, as the Friars visit John Carroll.