(May 17, 2019) The Stephen Decatur baseball team battled from behind and pulled ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning on Tuesday in Berlin, but the James M. Bennett Clippers took advantage of the Seahawks’ miscues in the top of the seventh and won the game, 8-6.
“We’ve asked them to play defense all year and they’ve done a really good job playing defense,” Decatur Coach Rich Ferro said. “When it’s normally really good and we don’t hit that well, we still stay in games because we play defense, but today our defense kind of let us down. We pitched pretty well like usual, but our defense kind of wasn’t there and [Bennett] got some timely hits. We didn’t execute properly like we have.”
Bennett, the second seed in the 3A East Region Section II bracket, put three runs on the board in the first inning. Top-seeded Decatur tallied two in the bottom of the inning.
Both teams scored twice in the third and at the end of the inning, the Clippers led 5-4.
The Seahawks rallied with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to gain a 6-5 advantage.
Bennett capitalized on Decatur mistakes in the top of the seventh and added three runs to take an 8-6 lead. The Clippers held the home team in the bottom of the inning to secure the victory.
“We had bases loaded a few times. Like all year, we just haven’t gotten that timely hit or maybe a passed ball to give us an extra run,” Ferro said. “We just didn’t get a couple when we needed them.”
Senior Ridge Watson had two of Decatur’s seven hits.
Sophomore Evan Truitt and junior Blake Marshall each had one hit and one RBI. Seniors Brett Berquist and Dawson Delaney, and junior Noah Ager had one hit apiece.
Senior Jack Rosenberg threw two innings. He struck out four, walked three and allowed three hits.
Truitt took the mound for four and one-third innings. He struck out five and gave up two hits.
Junior Hunter Selzer struck out two in two-thirds of an inning.
Decatur received a first-round bye in the regional tournament and then edged out the fourth-seeded Northeast Eagles of Anne Arundel, 5-3, last Saturday in Berlin.
The Seahawks scored two in the first and one in the second for a 3-0 lead. The Eagles answered with one in the fourth and two in the fifth.
Decatur drove in two in the bottom of the sixth and held on for the win.
Berquist, Marshall and senior Alex Gaddis had two hits apiece. Freshman Ashten Snelsire chipped in with one hit and two RBIs.
Senior Hayden Snelsire also had one hit and two RBIs. On the mound, Snelsire struck out 10, walked two and allowed eight hits in six innings.
Rosenberg struck out one and walked one in the final inning.
Decatur finished the season with a 14-6 record.
“It was great. It was surprising, honestly,” Ferro said. “There was a lot of guys that were inexperienced at the varsity level and they played pretty well. We won a lot of baseball games and we beat some teams that probably didn’t expect for us to beat them.”
Ferro was proud of his players’ performance on and off the field.
“They played really well all year. They practiced hard, they’re good kids, they’re smart kids. They gave back to the community, going to the elementary schools and reading children books, [so] you can’t ask for anything more,” he said. “They exceeded expectations. They’re good ballplayers the way they competed and held us in every game, and it was great to have young kids helping us out. We had a lot of guys not varsity experienced, but they battled and that’s all we ask of them.”
The team will graduate 12 players. About half of them were starters, so a core group is anticipated to return next season with a year of experience under their belts.