(May 16, 2014) Stephen Decatur’s baseball team won two games this week in extra innings and the Seahawks remain in contention for regional and state titles.
Monday’s marathon game in Berlin lasted three hours and 40 minutes and went nine innings with Decatur, the No. 1 team in Section I of the 3A South Region, edging out the No. 4 James M. Bennett Clippers, 10-9.
When asked what he thought the game came down to, Decatur Coach Rich Ferro said, “luck.”
“We got a couple borderline pitches that maybe should have been called strikes. We were very fortunate,” he said. “We have to be better. We’re fortunate to walk out of here with a win.”
The Seahawks scored two in the first, but the Clippers answered in the second with four runs.
In the bottom of the second inning with sophomore Lane Dillon on base, senior Nick Bennett hit a two-run home run to even the score, 4-4.
Senior Andrew Borradaile drove in two runs to put Decatur on top, 6-4. The Seahawks scored one more in the inning to pull ahead, 7-4.
Bennett tied it 7-7 in the next inning and took an 8-7 lead in the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Clippers’ catcher dropped a third strike on senior Jacob Hickman and Meekins sprinted from third base and slid into home to send the game into extra innings.
Bennett took a 9-8 lead in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the inning, senior Chase Coursey’s sack fly scored N. Bennett. With the bases loaded, junior Ryan Bennett was walked and Decatur won the game, 10-9.
“I thought they were a little lackadaisical. Defensively, we were not as sharp as we need to be and we didn’t throw strikes,” Ferro said. “In the regular season you play 18 games and everything’s good, but now in playoffs, you’re one and done. I really didn’t see a sense of urgency until late in the game. They were worried about every pitch, they were upset about every play. We try to preach ‘win the next pitch, win the next pitch,’ but they we hanging on to every pitch, every mistake, getting upset with their performance when they have to control their emotion.”
N. Bennett led Decatur with three hits and 2 RBIs. Hickman went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
On the mound, junior Grant Donahue struck out four, gave up two home runs and walked four in two and two-third innings.
Junior Sean Colgan took the mound for four and one-third innings. He struck out five and allowed two hits. N. Bennett finished the game. He struck out three, allowed two hits and one walk.
The victory Monday advanced Decatur to Wednesday’s Section I finals against the No. 3 Northeast Eagles of Anne Arundel.
Again, Decatur pulled out a win in extra innings.
The Seahawks got on the board in the bottom of the second, but the Eagle tied it up in the third.
Northeast took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth. Dillon’s RBI single up the middle evened the score, 2-2 in the bottom of the inning.
The visiting Eagles tallied a run in the seventh to pull ahead, 3-2. It was do or die for the Seahawks in the bottom of the seventh and the boys came through. With the bases loaded, Borradaile singled to scored a run.
In the bottom of the eighth, Meekins stepped up to the plate with one out and two runners on base. He made contact, the ball sailed down the first baseline and stayed fair. Dillon sprinted home and Decatur won the game, 4-3.
“I felt confident going in. The kid was throwing strikes and he gave me something to hit and I hit it,” Meekins said. “I wasn’t running too fast (to first base). I probably stopped about halfway and watched to see if it [stayed fair] then I turned around and saw Lane score. It was amazing. My first walk-off hit ever and a perfect spot to do it.”
The Seahawks rushed the field to congratulate Meekins and celebrate.
Sophomore Zach Adams went 3-for-5 and Borradaile had two hits and one RBI.
Colgan threw four innings. He struck out six, walked three and allowed three hits. N. Bennett took the mound for the final four innings. He struck out six, walked two and gave up two hits.
“It came down to two good teams playing each other, timely hitting, having the right guys up at the opportune times and playing good defense,” Ferro said. “And, our pitchers were great today. They battled and they stayed in the zone. That was huge to keep us in the game.”
Decatur (20-1) is set to face the La Plata Warriors, the top team in Section II, today, Friday, at 4 p.m. in Berlin for the 3A South Region title.
The Seahawks are going for their second consecutive regional title.
“We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing–throwing strikes, hitting, just playing good baseball. That’s what it comes down to, and getting some luck time to time,” Ferro said.
Added Meekins, “Going back to the regional championship again, we feel we’re more comfortable since we were there last year. I feel like we’re going to perform well. We need to play a little better defensively and cut down on strikeouts and I think we’ll be fine.”