Greyhounds top Spalding for first MIAA A baseball championship since 2010 (VIDEO HERE!)
2021 MIAA A CONFERENCE
GILMAN SCHOOL GREYHOUNDS
by Joe DiBlasi
After falling short in the finals of the last two MIAA A Conference Baseball Tournaments, Gilman School found the winning formula in 2021, going undefeated in four games to capture the double-elimination event and capping it off with a 6-2 win over top-seeded Archbishop Spalding, Monday afternoon in Roland Park.
Gilman managed just three base hits in a contest which was played in a light rain throughout, but two of them were RBI doubles off the bat of senior Trevor Weiner. The Greyhounds (16-8 overall), with their precision game of small ball, also forced a highly uncharacteristic six errors by the Spalding defense. Of Gilman’s six runs, only one was earned.
Speculation was running rampart about who would pitch for each team, with aces Peter Heubeck of Gilman and Spalding’s Noah Mrotek potentially available, but with both having worked late last week each was held back for a potential “if” game on Tuesday.
Heubeck, however, was given the honor pitching the seventh inning for the Greyhounds. Although he allowed a run with a walk, a wild pitch and his own throwing error, he struck out two and closed out the second Gilman baseball title for coach Larry Sheets.
Heubeck, who’s expected to hear his name called in July’s Major League Baseball Draft, expressed his appreciation for going out on top.
“We were close as a team this year and it was a real special season,” said Heubeck. “This team had so much heart. It has been an amazing season.”
Prior to the seventh, Sheets followed his well established pitcher by committee approach which he uses as a second starter.
In order Bennett Speicher, Owen Holmgren, who got credit for the win, and Cooper Sidell each tossed two innings. Speicher allowed three hits and no runs, Holmgren surrendered one hit and one run and Sidell worked two scoreless frames, allowing no hits and striking out three.
The Cavaliers’ defense began to betray starter Parker Thomas in the bottom of third when the first two Gilman batters reached on infield errors. That was followed by a double-steal and a passed ball that chased home courtesy runner Jermaine Conyers with the first run of the game. A walk and a fielder’s choice grounder plated the second run of the inning before Weiner lined his first two-bagger of the afternoon to chase home the third run. Spalding’s third infield throwing error of the inning made it 4-0 after three.
“After my first at bat, which didn’t go so great, I kept my head up and got some fastballs over the plate and I was able to do some damage,” said Weiner.
Spalding got one run back in the top of the fourth when sophomore Cody Sharman smacked a two-out RBI double to center, but Weiner drove a blast into deep center, in the bottom of the fifth to plate two more Gilman runs, putting his team on the verge of its third MIAA A baseball crown and first since 2010.
“What a day,” exclaimed Sheets. “The last three weeks we’ve been playing good baseball.”
The Greyhounds four tournament wins, as the second seed, allowed them to close 2021 on a six-game winning streak. Prior to that they had lost three of four, including a 7-1 loss to Spalding. Earlier in the year, the Cavaliers had blanked Gilman, 9-0, in Roland Park. The first Spalding loss left the Hounds with a 2-4 mark. In between their two losses to the Cavaliers, the Greyhounds won seven of eight.
“I am happy for the boys,” added Sheets. “We have a lot of seniors and losing the last time (in 2019) really hurt. To be able to come back this year and put together a really good half was terrific.
“We did a lot of nice things today. They are a really good team. We put some pressure on them and that’s the way we play, and that’s the way we’ve been going.”
Spalding coach Joe Palumbo almost couldn’t believe what we saw on Monday.
“It wasn’t our day,” said Palumbo. “You could watch us any 15 games of the year and we wouldn’t make 5 errors in 15 games. “We didn’t handle the pressure and we didn’t handle the elements very well. Credit to them, putting pressure on us and getting base runners, and trying hit-and-run and stealing bases.”
Spalding finishes the season at 24-5 with two of those losses coming in the post-season. An opening round loss to John Carroll School put the Cavaliers in the elimination bracket but they fought back to the finals with three wins in four days.
“We have nothing to be ashamed,” concluded Palumbo. “We had 18 Conference wins, including the playoffs.”
MIAA A CONFERENCE BASEBALL FINALS
at Gilman School
GILMAN 6, ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 2
AS 000 100 1 — 2 5 6
GIL 004 020 x — 6 3 2
Spalding – Parker Thomas, John Carroll (5), Zach Ford (6) and Ethan McNally; Gilman –Bennett Speicher, Owen Holmgren (3), Cooper Siedle (5), Peter Heubeck (7) and Matthew Wills
2B: Spalding – Cody Sharman; Gilman – Trevor Weiner (2).2021 A Baseball Bracket Complete